In a large gesture to show appreciation, three organizations will hold an event for soldiers of the West Virginia Army National Guard 1092nd Engineer Battalion and the 104th Aviation Unit and their families.
The Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Parkersburg Art Center and the Actors Guild of Parkersburg have teamed up for the Fairy Tale Ball from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the center.
While the goal of the event is to honor the returning soldiers, the Fairy Tale Ball is open to everyone. Admission is free for members of the 1092nd, the 104th and their families while community members are invited with ticket prices set at $20 for individuals, $30 for couples, $10 for children and $50 for families (two adults and as many children are in the family).
Tickets can be purchased by calling (304) 485-7311.
"We have, in the past, had the Red, White and Blue Ball and this year we wanted to do something different so we started talking to our neighbors at the art center and came up with the Fairy Tale Ball," said Sharon Kesselring, financial development director for the local Red Cross. "While the name 'Red, White and Blue' would be very appropriate for what this event is about, we wanted it to have a little fantasy feeling because it is not a dream and the (soldiers) really are home."
The first hour of the ball is for all age groups with the children and adults separating at 8 p.m. for individual activities,with children in the basement level and adults taking over the rest of the center, according to Robin White with the Actors Guild.
About the Ball
The Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Parkersburg Art Center and the Actors Guild of Parkersburg have teamed up to thank soldiers and families of the West Virginia Army National Guard 1092nd Engineer Battalion and the 104th Aviation Unit
The Fairy Tale Ball will be from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the art center and will include crafts and games for children as well as food and activities for adults.
Members of the 1092nd and 104th and their families will be admitted to the event for free while members of the community can purchase tickets to attend.
"We're providing the venue and activities in the lower level for the children," said Hayhurst. "We will have food and drinks for the kids down there along with crafts they can take home, games and, I think, there will even be karaoke."
For the adults there will be refreshments, casino games, a silent auction and more.
"We want to give parents time to do adult activities, but if the kids and parents want to stay together, that is fine," White said.
Throughout the night, those in attendance will have the opportunity to write messages to the members of the 1092nd and 104th as well as their families on a graffiti wall.
"This wall will give the community a chance to show their appreciation for what the soldiers and their families go through," White said.
While the night will be a time for reflection, it is also meant to be a chance for the service members and their families to relax and have a good time.
"Everything is built on the fairy tale theme," Kesselring said. "The art center will be decorated with a fantasy look, members of the Actors Guild will be in costume and we encourage everyone who attends to dress in costume."
There will be a costume parade and a contest with a variety of prizes for the costumes that can include but are not limited to kings, queens, princesses and princes, pixies, gnomes, fairies, knights and more.
"This gives the community the opportunity to celebrate the soldiers' safe return," Kesselring said.