Warmer weather draws guests to April First Friday events

GRAFTON— Downtown Grafton was abuzz with people Friday evening, as residents and guests took to the streets, visiting shops and taking part in the April First Friday events, which included live music, children’s activities and much more.

In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Taylor County Collaborative Family Resource Network kicked off the 2019 Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign in front of the Mother’s Day Shrine, to start off the beginning of this month’s First Friday celebration.

The ladies of Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Post 3081 were out selling t-shirts and raffles, while giving out poppies and holding a membership drive in Toad Hall.

Next door at Espresso Yourself Coffee House, many activities were happening including the toe tapping music of Roland and Mary Kay of Soup Camel, much to the delight of all that attended.

The duo first made their appearance during last year’s April First Friday events, bringing their Americana Blues music to the area.

All Aboard Grafton and the folks from the Bringing Back the Shine Taylor County Committee, hosted an eco-friendly craft zone for visiting children and adults. Those taking part in the crafts were sent home with seed packs for planting.

The Easter Bunny was not only on hand in the coffee house for pictures, but was also seen hopping down main street, handing out eggs. 

Donna and Tom Hart were dipping the night away, as it seemed everyone was celebrating the beautiful weather with some delicious hand dipped ice cream from Espresso Yourself, a treat the establishment has recently begun serving up.

Ice cream was dessert for most, after enjoying a wonderful dinner from Three Texans which was open until 7:00 p.m. for First Friday. 

Mary and Owen Phillips, owners of Somethin’ Country, outdid themselves with a gorgeous spring open house, complete with lots of new spring items at a 20 percent discount. Guests in the shop were also treated to some yummy snacks.

Grafton’s First Friday events wouldn’t be complete with a stop at the Taylor County Arts Council’s Gallery 62 West. This month, the TCAC collaborated with the Taylor County Collaborative Family Resource Network, Taylor County Partners in Prevention and the Planned Approach to Community Health Coalition, the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center and West Virginia University’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to put on an exhibition that made guests stop and think.

Their stunningly moving new show “What Were You Wearing?” implored viewers to take note that sexual assaults cannot be blamed on what a victim is wearing. The show was incredibly well received and attended, according to organizers. 

“In our society, we have a horrifying tendency to blame the victims of sexual assault. We try to explain away what happened by asking where they were, how much they’d had to drink, and what they were wearing. This is exhibit shows that it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing,” said Taylor County Arts Council board member, Sheila Westfall. “Sexual assault can happen to anyone and it is never the victim’s fault.”

For the area’s children, Burlington United Methodist Family Services, Taylor County Partners in Prevention and the TCCRN held a free showing of Hotel Transylvania, complete with popcorn in the gallery’s education room.

It is safe to say that this month’s activities provided a wonderful evening, enjoyed by all. 

May’s First Friday will take place in downtown Grafton on May 3, from 4:00-8:00 p.m. Those interested in hosting an event or taking part in the festivities should contact All Aboard Grafton.


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