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Free Family Fun expands to five days for spring break


Something special is brewing at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston, from April 16 - 20 when the West Virginia Division of Culture and History presents five days of Free Family Fun to coincide with Kanawha, Putnam, Fayette, Boone, Lincoln, Clay and Jackson counties school annual spring break week. Hands-on activities are geared for children in morning sessions from 9 a.m. - noon and afternoons from 1 - 3 p.m.; however, visitors of all ages are invited to discover something new by participating in the free event.

Monday morning, April 16, will have kids making mosaic designs on picture frames and coasters using glass and tile. They can learn the history of this old and colorful art form. Paula Lepp of Charleston will host an afternoon mask session. Children can make plaster masks of their faces and decorate them using feathers, paint, beads, yarn and crayons. They also can make masks of wild animals, monsters and people. Lepp is the former director of youth services for the YWCA in Greensboro, N.C.

Darren Husband of Charleston will lead kids into the world of T-shirt design techniques on Tuesday, April 17. Husband is an artist who has worked in exhibition design and as a tour guide. In the morning, visitors can tie-dye clothes with a variety of patterns by dipping, dropping and spraying. After lunch, they can explore the process of silk screen printing and airbrushing on fabric. Participants must provide their own shirts or other pieces of clothing to tie-dye, silk screen or paint.

Wednesday, April 18, will feature award-winning potter Jeff Diehl of Lockbridge, Summers County, as host of “Clay Day.” Diehl will teach children how to sculpt and mold clay and use a potter’s wheel to throw pots, mugs and bowls. Participants can make boats and other sculptures, learn how to use glaze and fire their creations in a kiln during both morning and afternoon sessions.

Charleston actress Bethany Cline will spend Thursday, April 19, helping children express themselves through mime, improvisation, make-up and movement. Theater Thursday activities will continue during the afternoon period. Cline, who is the tour supervisor for the Division and State Capitol Complex, has performed locally with the Charleston Stage Company, Kanawha Players and Charleston Light Opera Guild and was in the CBS made-for-television movie “Country Justice,” which starred George C. Scott.

Festival Friday, April 20, is a super all-out, fun-day extravaganza. Kids can play in the moonwalk, run an obstacle course, try their luck on the bungee run and play carnival games during both the morning and afternoon sessions.

Visitors who wish to come for the entire day are encouraged to bring a bag lunch and picnic on the plaza between sessions. Because of the nature of the activities, children should wear their play clothes. Reservations are suggested. Adults must accompany all children. Call Bil Lepp, education coordinator for the Division, at (304) 558-0220, ext. 131, for more information or to make reservations.

Free Family Fun Day is an ongoing series which normally occurs on the last Saturday of every month. Because of this special five-day program during spring break, there will be no Free Family Fun Day activities on Saturday, April 28. The regular schedule for the series will resume next month on Saturday, May 26, as part of the 25th anniversary Vandalia Gathering. This month’s “Something Special Spring Break Week” is sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie 519.

For more information, call (304) 558-0220.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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