Experience the magic of community at October’s First Friday celebration


GRAFTON—October has arrived and that means another exciting First Friday event is scheduled to take place.

This month, through the effort of organizer Sheila Westfall, First Fridays will take on a fun theme, and will focus on community involvement.

“Celebrate the completion of the Three Bridges Loop and kick off spooky season with a Harry Potter themed First Friday,” Westfall exclaimed.

Earlier this summer, Grafton was designated as a 2022 AARP Community Challenge grantee for their work on revitalizing and upgrading the Three Bridges Loop.

The Loop, that connects Main Street to the West Side of Grafton through the Memorial City (previously the St. Mary’s Bridge), Clair Bee and the Frank Burdett Warder Memorial Bridges, has been a popular walking and running path for residents for numerous years.

For many years, those using the path were forced to travel alongside the roadway, without much lighting along the Front Street portion of the route. However, this spring, that changed when the City of Grafton, Taylor County Commission and West Virginia Division of Highways came together to have new sidewalks, lighting and benches installed to make the area safer for foot travel and more inviting to residents and visitors alike.

Their actions aligned with the grant, and Grafton received additional funding to finish their initial project.

“In the AARP grant, I included funds for a Community Celebration, and this is it,” Westfall noted.

She shared that the funds are paying for all the food, the pumpkins for carving/painting and some of the prizes for the Walk to Win drawing. 

“Arts & Treasures, Jerry’s, Leonard’s and Kimberly’s Simply Southern all donated gift certificates to the cause,” Westfall disclosed. “We’ve ordered food from ten different restaurants, purchased pumpkins through Jennings Garden Center, and had Jett Printing make paper versions of the Three Bridges Loop map.”

During this month’s First Friday celebration, guests will be able to take part in children’s crafts at the Taylor County Historical and Genealogical Society, as well as across the street at Gallery 62 West, where youths will create a wooden cat.

The creativity will continue in the gravel lot beside Gallery 62 West, where participants can carve pumpkins and down at Arts and Treasures, magic will fill the air as First Friday goers make their own magic wands.

Gallery 62 West will also be welcoming folks to their opening reception of “The Black Magic Wunderbox,” a show that is sure to entice. The reception is set to begin at 6:00 p.m.

There will be a Hogwarts Feast in Toad Hall at 5:00 p.m., and a Martial Arts Demonstration at Grafton Martial Arts Academy from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

The feast will feature delicious offerings from all of your favorite local restaurants including Capri Pizza, Eastern Chinese Kitchen, Gourmet Express, Hometown Hotdogs, Hometown Pizza, Jerry’s Restaurant, Leonard’s Grill, Olde Town Coffee & Donut Shop, Sweet Express Bakery and T’s Tasty Treats.

Make sure to save room for snacks and popcorn, as the Taylor County Historical Society welcomes individuals to explore the magical and mystical wizarding world of Harry Potter with their showing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Pull out our Marauder’s Map and find out who is taking part in the Walk to Win.

During the event, participants will check in at Toad Hall before taking off to walk the Three Bridges loop where they will take selfies at three locations that will be announced prior to the walk.

Once the course is completed, walkers will show their photos to volunteers at the check-in table and will be entered into a prize drawing which will be held at 7:00 p.m.

“If you are physically unable to walk the entire loop, let the check-in volunteer know, and you will be allowed to choose the selfie spots you feel capable of reaching,” noted Westfall.

Take steps to win great prizes such as a $100 Walmart gift card, a Grafton Monster print by Elisha Rush or a gift certificate to Arts and Treasures, The Flower Market, Jerry’s Restaurant, Kimberly’s Simply Southern or Leonard’s Grill.

In addition, there will be a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted racing broom raffle sponsored by the Tygart Artisans Guild. Tickets are being sold for $5 or six tickets for $25.

Those wishing to partake may purchase their tickets at Arts and Treasures or visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/graftonwvusa/permalink/10158657448392161/.

“We really wanted this to be a Community Celebration in all senses of the term. Of course, we want community members to attend the event, but we also wanted to make sure as many local businesses as possible benefited from it,” Westfall expressed. “The whole event has also been planned by a wonderful group of community volunteers who want to see Grafton grow and thrive.”

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