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Philippi hosts Art Stroll, celebrates Covered Bridge

September 14, 2012
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Guests interested in arts, crafts, music and celebrating a piece of local history, made their way to downtown Philippi on Thursday.

The evening featured two events. Local artists, musicians, crafters and more set up exhibits inside participating downtown businesses for the third-ever Art Stroll.

While strolling downtown, visitors made their way to the pavilion in the lawn of the Barbour County Courthouse to celebrate 160 years of the Philippi Covered Bridge.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
From left, Olivia Croston, 7, Shaela Croston, 11, Stephanie Santilli, 8, Isabella Croston, 4, and Sam Ferguson, 8, all from Philippi, have the honor of blowing out 16 candles celebrating the 16-decade history of the Historic Covered Bridge. Behind the children is Annette Fetty-Santilli, a member of the Philippi Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, which sponsored Thursday’s event. More photos can be found online at

"It's been a fabulous event. We've had a lot of fun; you run into a lot of people you know," said Anni Corley of Philippi.

Participating artists included students from Barbour County.

"It's an opportunity for student artists to share their work with the public and we ask our students to be creative," said Elaine Benson, personnel director with Barbour County Schools. "This is a wonderful event."

Benson said it fills her with joy to see students posing for portraits in front of their artwork, and parents capturing those photographs. Barbour County Schools have participated in all three Art Stroll events.

"I'm impressed because I have former students who have artworks here," said Jill Schiefelbein of Philippi, while browsing exhibits in Mullens & Mullens.

A Philip Barbour High School student at Art Stroll expressed his artistic talent outside of the visual arts with his guitar and some songs he'd personally written.

"I started writing a couple years ago, but I've been playing music about eight years now," said Grayson Prince, 16.

At least one Alderson-Broaddus College student also participated.

"I experimented with a couple different programs and ended up liking it," said Samantha Straughan, a junior visual arts major at A-B, about digital art. She said she started doing digital artwork in high school when her teacher introduced her to Photoshop. Her digital art exhibit was set up at The Office Store.

Karen Larry, a representative of Philippi Main Street, the sponsors and organizers of Art Stroll, said the event also is a way for businesses to get people downtown into the stores as well as for artists to have a place to show their work.

"We know that a number of businesses have had visitors that they've not seen in the businesses before," Larry said earlier this week.

The Workout, a business along Main Street in Philippi, offered guests the opportunity to learn a belly-dancing move. The business also exhibited paintings by Wilma Spurgeon of Philippi.

"It's (painting) good relaxation and it's good therapy," Spurgeon said.

Twenty five local businesses participated in the event. More than 30 artists, crafters or musicians participated.

"I love to paint and I like a challenge," said Pat Wanstreet of Philippi, who had some of her paintings on display at the Medallion Restaurant.

The Art Stroll wasn't the only event in downtown Philippi on Thursday. Led by the Good 'Ole Boys, a local five-member band, guests sang Happy Birthday to the historic Philippi Covered Bridge, celebrating 160 years. Five children blew out 16 candles, one candle for every decade. The birthday party was sponsored by the Philippi Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Cake and lemonade was served after the birthday song. The lemonade cups were souvenirs, featuring the city's iconic covered bridge.

"We have been so pleased with this really," Larry said. "All-in-all, we're pleased with the way it's progressing."

Contact Melissa Toothman by email at



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