Parkersburg outdoor expo draws enthusiasts

PARKERSBURG – An expo aimed at outdoor activities and enthusiasts drew a variety of vendors and visitors Saturday to the Parkersburg Farmers’ Market at Second and Ann streets in downtown Parkersburg.

The first Adventure Recreation Expo, organized by Downtown PKB, provided an opportunity for outdoor-related businesses and area attractions to showcase their offerings to local residents as the spring season and warmer weather approaches.

Vendors and exhibitors ranged from attractions like Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park and the Edison Arboretum to businesses like Fox’s Backpacking Shop and Marietta Adventure Company. The event also included demonstrations involving bicycling and backpacking.

Alan Szafranski, of Washington, W.Va., was among the vendors participating on Saturday’s expo and thought it was a great event. The expo drew a steady stream of visitors on Saturday to look at the displays and learn more about the local area has to offer.

“It brings people with like interests together,” he said, adding the range of choices was also a positive.

“If you have one outdoor activity enthusiast, they typically have a lot of other interests or they can find a new interest,” Szafranski said.

“It was real nice for the first year, I think they put it together real well,” Parkersburg resident Travis Jenkins said Saturday after visiting the expo.

Jenkins said he is involved in kayaking and backpacking and thought he might get some new information at Saturday’s event about products and opportunities in those areas. He would like to see the event continue and grow.

Matt Harris, of Parkersburg, said he liked Saturday’s expo and was glad to see a variety of people come in and visit during the time he was there.

“There’s a lot of information about new trails and such that a lot of people don’t know about,” he said.

Harris said his main outdoor interests are camping and fishing, but he thought the expo was a good way to learn about other opportunities, citing the running clubs as something that grabbed his interest on Saturday.

“There was a lot of knowledge in there,” he said as he left the expo.

Kim Coram, one of the organizers of Saturday’s expo, said she was pleased with the turnout through the day, adding many of the vendors and exhibitors reported running out of products and materials they brought to sell or give away.

“It’s been a steady stream of people, really energetic and great attendance,” Coram said.

While the warm and sunny day following a cold and snowy winter season might have brought some visitors out, Coram said she thought many of Saturday’s visitors enjoy the cold seasons as much as the warm ones, just changing their outdoor activity from season to season.

“A lot of people are saying they enjoyed the winter thoroughly. A lot of people here are outdoor recreation people and they enjoy all of the seasons. We’ve been selling snowshoes today, and all kinds of stuff,” she said.

“We have a very rich infrastructure here for all kinds of recreation,” Coram said of the Mid-Ohio Valley. “That’s what this is about.”

Coram said the expo will return in the future and there is a lot of interest. Some vendors had to be turned away Saturday after the available space at the farmers’ market filled up.