ODDFest: Berkeley County celebrates ‘odd’ in a good way

Bonnie Williamson

Berkeley County, W.Va., has proven to be “odd” enough for a second ODDFest event, June 25–26, presenting a wide assortment of activities to visitors who like the unusual.

Despite lots of rain last year, ODDFest was so popular it may become an annual event, said Laura Gassler, who promotes the county. About 15 businesses throughout Berkeley County will welcome visitors.

“Since most of the event will take place indoors, weather won’t be a problem,” Gassler said. “ODDFest showcases a lot of businesses all on the same weekend. We had a lot of visitors last year from all over.”

ODDFest hours are 10:00am–4:00pm, but Gassler said hours for individual activities may vary, according to the different businesses involved with the event. Just about a 90-minute trip from the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas brings you face-to-face with ODDFest.

You can take a step back to the Old West and visit buffalo at Orr’s Farm Market in Martinsburg for free.

“We’ve had three baby buffalos born in the last two-day period,” said Katy Orr-Dove, the market’s retail manager. “We expect another three or four more.

“We have about 20 buffaloes. We had quite an influx of people come to see them at the last ODDFest. Many people have never seen buffaloes before. We’re excited to participate again.”

Orr’s will also have items such as produce and hanging baskets for sale. In addition, there will be a free live bluegrass festival, featuring Ernie Bradley and the Grassy Ridge. The Lions Club will be on hand, providing refreshments. Orr’s hours are 8:00am–6:00pm on Saturday and 10:00am–4:00pm on Sunday.

If climbing up a rock wall indoors is more to your liking, you can tackle one at Climbing New Heights, an indoor climbing gym and outdoor guide service in Martinsburg.

“This is our first time being involved with ODDFest,” said Brance Keesecker, the owner of Climbing New Heights. “We’re unique to the area.”

Keesecker will be having three indoor rock climbing competitions: children ages 6 to 12, 1:00pm–2:30pm; teens ages 13 to 17, 3:00pm–4:30pm; and adults 18 and older, 5:00pm–7:00pm. It costs $10 to participate. Prizes will be awarded to the top three in each group. A cookout and live music will be part of the fun.


Smells and survival skills

Among businesses returning to ODDFest for a second year are Martinsburg’s Yes, M.A.M. Nail Salon and Candle Shop. Yes, M.A.M. is running a guessing game called, “What’s that smell?” The participant who guesses all scents correctly will win a prize. The store is open 10:00am–3:00pm Saturday.

The North American Bushcraft School in Hedgesville will be teaching survival skills during ODDFest. Participants can learn about useful and poisonous plants on a free edible and medicinal plant walk, 9:00–11:30am. There will also be a fiber class, 1:00–4:30pm, where you can learn how to make cord from plant material. The class is $5 for adults, and kids 12 and younger are free.

Spooks will be around again with the Haunted History and Legends Walking Tours. These tours, which will also be held on June 24, will visit the historical downtown Martinsburg district. The price is $12 per person.

Other ODDFest activities can be found at oddfestwv.com.

The idea for ODDFest came after Gassler approached author Jeanne Mozier, of Berkeley Springs, for a book signing last year. Mozier’s Way Out in West Virginia, released in 2013, is referred to as a guide to the oddities and wonders of the Mountain State.


For more information

Martinsburg Tourism: travelwv.com

ODDFest: oddfestwv.com

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