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Story Booth Characters Bring Excitement to Valley Park

Beloved fairy tale characters visited Valley Park on Saturday, August 7, for the Story Booth Adventure Drive Thru. This event, which was developed with the pandemic in mind, allows families to interact with costumed actors from their cars. The actors, who portrayed popular characters such as the Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, were spread out along the park’s roads, where they waved at the cars coming and going.

The Story Booth Characters started this drive thru event last year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the country was in lockdown, there were few activities open to the public. For this reason, many towns and organizations began hosting neighborhood parades and drive thru events. The Story Booth Adventure Drive Thru was held several times at the park last year, and the organization participated in other events held at the park once the state began to open back up.

This year’s Story Booth Adventure featured double the number of volunteers as well as several new characters, including Baymax from the “Big Hero” movies, Megara from “Hercules,” Raya from “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and Pocahontas.

In addition to the drive thru adventure, there was also a games tent where children could play Spin the Wheel and Plinko and receive prizes of small toys and candy.

The Story Booth Characters was founded by Kelsey Blankenhorn of Charleston, who is originally from Clay County. She started the non-profit organization to help entertain children whose families could not afford to go to Disney World by bringing the characters to them. The Story Booth Players got their start at the Clay Apple Festival, and then began to spread out to other areas in West Virginia.

The Story Booth Players plan to return to Valley Park for the upcoming Cupcake Festival, as well as for Halloween.

Kelsey Blankenhorn of Charleston, founder of the Story Booth Characters, greet visitors as Moana, along with Gavin Ramirez of Clendenin, who portrays Maui. (Photo by Betsy Allen)
Jocelyn Cabauatan of Dunbar portrays Raya from “Raya and the Last Dragon.” This is a new character for the Story Booth Characters line up. (Photo by Betsy Allen)
Mary Poppins (Hannah Stricklin of Roan County) and Merida (Haley Ellison of Sissonsville) hang out with some pinguins at the park. (Photo by Betsy Allen)
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