Dave’s Drive-Through Weekend
Camden Park Opens for the Season
The dogwoods are in bloom, the robins are singing their songs, and this Saturday Camden Park is opening - all signs spring is here and summer is on its way,
Head out to West Virginia's only amusement park, Camden Park where they are kicking off their 113th season this weekend.
The family owned park, which has more than 30 rides and attractions, will be open 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1.
Award-winning Americana artist Steve Free will be in concert at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 1 as part of the festivities. Get tickets online or at the front gate starting at $16.49.
Camden Park will be open weekends throughout May with an expanded schedule starting after Memorial Day weekend. Go online at www.camdenpark.com for more info and follow them on FB and Twitter.
Come and Get Some Indie Bookstore Love @ Empire
Empire Books and News joins some 420 indie bookstores in 48 states celebrating Independent Bookstore Day with a party, author readings and exclusive day-of merch on Saturday.
At Empire fall “Through The Looking Glass” into Alice’s Wonderland in a themed party with nearly 20 local authors signing and reading from 3 to 6 p.m. At 3:30 p.m. Heroes 4 Hire's Batman and Batgirl will read stories and then follow with a meet and greet, The Queen of Hearts will create balloon art for kids and local musicians Jeff Ellis and Kaleb Jones and the Family Band will perform. Empire will also offer exclusive day-of merch created for Independent Bookstore Day.
Since its inception in 2014, more than 120 authors have demonstrated their support for indie bookstores by donating work for Bookstore Day. Go online at www.indiebookstoreday.com and www.empirebooksandnews.com for more info.
Have A Girls Night Out @ The Arena
The Big Sandy Superstore Arena hosts a happy hour, Girls Night Out as iHeart Radio Women's Expo runs 5 to 8 p.m.Thursday, April 28.
Admission is $6 for the event which includes music, fashion, dancing, food, a cash bar and some fun giveaways including a Myrtle Beach, S.C. trip that includes three-night accommodations at Sands Ocean Club Resort, and admission to Family Kingdom Amusement Park, Family Kingdom Water Park, Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, and Ripley's Aquarium.
At the Women's Expo enjoy a Taste of the Tri-State with: Pullman Plaza Hotel featuring Pullman Pub, Texas Roadhouse, Pita Pit, Herr’s Chips, Domino’s Pizza, Sheetz, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Papa John’s Pizza, Qdoba, Jolly Pirate Doughnuts, Downtown Deli, Sweet Confections Bakery, Scraggle Pop, MU Hall of Fame Café, McDonald’s, Stewart's Original Hot Dogs, and more.
There will also be nearly 30 vendors as well as a fashion show by the Huntington Mall and a scarf demonstration by Haut Panache. Go online at www.wkee.com for more info about the Women's Expo, which is sponsored by Golden Girl Group Home.
Bobaflex Still Rocking After All These Years
Being in a rock band is like dog years and somehow The Mason County brother-built musical machine, Bobaflex celebrates its 15th year as a band. The nationally touring act now based out of Columbus brings it all back home Saturday, April 30 with a stop at the V Club, 741 6th Ave., Huntington. It's a packed bill with Grindhouse, Feverwar, Mad Anthony, and A Time Forgotten also on the bill. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 advance and $17 day of the show. Go online at http://www.theofficialbobaflex.com and follow them on Twitter @Bobaflex
Two Nights of Ona On the Road
The Huntington-based indie rock act Ona, which made its Mountain Stage radio debut earlier this month closes out April back in Charleston with a slot opening for the Clay Center's Soundstage Series at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 30. Also on the bill is the Muncie-Indiana-based rock trio MODOC. Tickets are $15 advance or $20 at the door. Go online at http://www.modocmusic.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/thebandona/?fref=ts to hear Ona. If you are up for making it an all-Ona weekend they will be at teaming up with The Horse Traders for a rocking night at the Cantrell's Rafting pub, The 35th Star down in the New River Gorge outside of Fayetteville. Music starts at 10 p.m. Friday, April 29. Cover is $5 for those 21 and older
Hit Up A Final Fridays Art Walk
A couple local small cities have a Final Friday Art Walk, and Huntington will be joining them in May.
Here in April head over to the Grayson Gallery & Art Center, Inc., 301 E 3rd St, Grayson, Ky., where they are hosting the annual "Celebrate the Earth" art show and sale with about 100 works in all mediums on display and for sale including assemblage, sculpture/3-D, re-purposed, upcycled, painted-up and more. The event runs 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 29 and there will be live music by Steve Free and tasty refreshments provided by "Delicious Dishes" (catering by Gina Lane and Brenda Barnhill).
And head up to Portsmouth, Ohio's historic Boneyfiddle District where Huntington native Rob Black and his non-profit The Boneyfiddle Project organize the Final Fridays at Boneyfiddle that runs 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, April 29. Shops will have extended hours and music will be by Holly and the Guy, Dennis Uldrich and the Generous Bandits, Wakita Billups and Ryan Sprinkle. The music takes place on Second Street between Court and Market Streets.
Jazz In This House, This Sunday
Well-known pianist and bandleader Mark Smith, who has been music director at Trinity Episcopal Church for going on 17 years and who tours professionally with the big band of Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., brings those two worlds together Sunday.
The church's young choir and Murphy's big band (and other professional musicians) team up to perform a concert of Duke Ellington's Sacred Music at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 1 at Trinity, located at 520 11th St, Huntington.
Smith will direct the 20-person choir and its two soloists, Mycah Pemberton and Jen Billups,who will all fill the high-ceiling timbered church with a wall of fresh, sacred sounds.
Characterized by critic Gary Giddins as "Ellington bringing the Cotton Club revue to the church," the music with such titles as "Come Sunday" is sacred and full of joy. Ellington, who called these sacred concerts "the most important thing I have ever done," wrote and performed three Sacred Concerts in 1965, 1968 and 1973 in the last decade of his life.
The concert is free but donations are graciously accepted.
My Dave Trippin' Pick: My road-trip pick this weekend is to Friendship, Ohio, and Shawnee State Park for the Morel Mania Festival celebrating the wild, edible mushroom.
Friday and Saturday, April 29-30. Kicks off on Friday evening with an amphitheater talk by Julie the Mushroom Lady. At 10 a.m. Saturday, enjoy a morel workshop and then from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. a morel mania competition hunt. Competition for who found the most, the biggest, the smallest, the funniest looking morel mushrooms takes place upon return. At 2 p.m., its the Great Mushroom Cookoff. Call the Shawnee State Park Office at 740-858-6652 or go online at www.facebook.com/ShawneeStatePark .
Also, if you didn't get your fill of ramps at Stinkfest last Saturday, head over to the mountains to Elkins on Saturday, April 30 for the 8th annual Ramps and Rail Festival will feature vendors with delicious ramp-themed foods like ramp burgers, ramperoni rolls, ramp chili and ramp risotto with shrimp. To top it off, be one of the first to ride the rails this year with The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad. Call 304-635-7803 or go online at http://elkinsdepot.com/2015-ramps-and-rail-festival/
Dave Lavender is the author of "Dave Trippin: A Daytripper's Guide to the Appalachian Galaxy of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia" and his new travel book, "Mo' Dave Trippin" now for sale on Amazon.com and through CreateSpace. He covers regional travel. Follow The Herald-Dispatch reporter on Facebook and Twitter @DaveLavenderHD.