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Berkeley County’s offbeat on hand this weekend at Oddfest 2017

By JIM McCONVILLE

The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va.  — Have you seen anything odd lately?

If not, would you like to?

If the answer is “yes,” then you may want to attend “Oddfest 2017,” a two-day festival to take place at various locations in Martinsburg and Berkeley County on July 8-9.

Touch of Grace Salt Cave is one of several event sites at this year’s “Oddfest” on July 8-9.
(Submitted photo)

Sponsored by the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the third annual festival that celebrates everything quirky provides a sampling of the many wonders to be found in the Eastern Panhandle.

“It’s not your typical event like a downtown festival type thing,” said Mark Jordan, executive director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “You can pick and choose what you want. You don’t have to go to everything. It’s just something fun to do on a July weekend — to get out with your family.”

What’s weird can range from taking a ghost tour to eyeing weird art, to lounging in a salt cave, to participating in a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” performance.

If relaxing in a lounge chair in a salt cave is your idea of “odd,” then the “Touch of Grace Salt Cave” located at 970 Foxcroft Avenue in Martinsburg may be one of the sites you will want to visit during your Oddfest Festival tour. Using Himalayan salt imported from Pakistan, the salt cave claims to provide therapeutic relaxation.

“It depends on your perception,” Jordan said. “What I may think is wonderful, somebody else may think is weird, or somebody think is wild. It all depends upon your perception.”

“Oddfest” is the brainchild of Jordan, former Convention and Visitor Bureau executive director Laura Gassler and Berkeley Springs resident Jeannie Mozier, co-owner of the Star Theatre and author of “Oddities of West Virginia.”

“We were looking at the book and we all thought, ‘Why don’t we do something, because there are a lot of unique things about this area,’” Jordan said. “Whether it’s ghosts — or whatever else you are into — that we could try to promote, to try to get people to come to this area to showcase what we have.”

For instance, one festival event to take place in Hedgesville will consist of a tour of indigenous vegetables in the area.

“They are going to take people on plant tours,” Jordan said. “People will be looking for edible plants to live off the land. It’s a getting back to nature sort of thing. “

People interested in attending the festival can use an app located at www.visitmartinsburg.wv.

“Under ‘play’ on the website there’s a specific section dedicated to ‘oddfest,’”Jordan said. “You can see what events happening closest to you, and you can choose to go to that event or other events in the area.”

Jordan said some of the listed events are free, while others carry a small charge.

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