Cancer Benefit

PARKERSBURG – The weekend-long Vandalia-Con at the Blennerhassett Hotel wrapped up with a transition into a health fair at Point Park on Sunday afternoon.

Approximately 30 participants in the steampunk-themed Vandalia-Con paraded down Second Street in Parkersburg, following a man-drawn carriage, an antique car and a bubble performance on Sunday afternoon at Point Park Marketplace.

The parade was led by a carriage that, although designed to be pulled by a horse, was powered by a three-man team instead. Donna Hudgins, chair of the Breast Cancer Awareness committee for the Community Educational Outreach Service (CEOS) clubs or Wood County, rode in the carriage as it was pulled by J.R. Whitcomb, a member of the Karnevil Circus Sideshow from New Jersey; and James Locklove and Zach Fantasia from the Pirate Crew of the Dead Rabbit from Rhode Island.

Event coordinator Shelly Dusic, health information specialist with the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program, said the weekend’s festivities saw a good turnout.

“The whole point of Vandalia-Con: Saving the Mothers of Invention was to raise money for breast and cervical cancer screening, diagnostics, and treatment,” Dusic said.

The profits of the convention will be donated to breast cancer awareness causes, she said.

“We are a zero-to-zero event,” Dusic said. “All of it went to diagnostics, treatment, and funding for Bonnie’s Bus.”

Bonnie’s Bus was one of many groups participating in the health fair on Sunday afternoon, Dusic said.

“We wanted to link the convention in to the health fair,” Dusic said. “There are people who normally won’t come out to a health fair, but will for free entertainment. We want those people to learn about the services they need,” she said.

Among the groups promoting their services at Sunday’s health fair were Bonnie’s Bus, Unicare, licensed acupuncturist Tara Welty, Appalachian Community Cancer Network, MOV’n Dragons, the West Virginia Attorney General’s office consumer protection division, Westbrook Health Services, Marietta Memorial Hospital, Camden Clark Medical Center, Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, the Wood County School of Practical Nursing, and Mountains of Hope.

Bonnie’s Bus was on-site with a mobile mammography unit, providing mammograms to women regardless of their ability to pay for the service, representatives said.

Several food vendors and a lemonade stand were present, along with representatives from several steampunk-related performance groups who participated in the weekend convention.

The Battle Weary Band performed Civil-War themed music for the crowd, while Professor Phineas T. Bubblemaker’s Medicine Show provided entertainment for children and adults alike by creating thousands of bubbles at a time.

As the afternoon progressed, Unwoman, a performer from California, took the stage. Costumed participants of all ages enjoyed the free entertainment.

“We are hoping to repeat the convention next year,” Dusic said.