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Zelek Will Headline WVNCC's Fall Harvest Festival

October 6, 2010 - Other News
The weekend of Oct. 8 and 9 at West Virginia Northern Community College’s Wheeling campus will offer something for everyone, from a Fall Harvest Festival featuring fresh, locally-grown produce and other organic vendors, to a magician who just happens to be blind to an outdoor concert starring the popular Joe Zelek and his band. All events are open to the public and are at the college’s B&O Building at 1704 Market St. or Education Center across from the B&O at Seventeenth and Eoff streets, downtown Wheeling. From 4-7 p.m. on Friday the college will present its second annual Fall Harvest Festival on the B&O Building’s front plaza. Also that day, the college will open its observation of National Disabilities Awareness Month with a performance at 6:30 p.m. by The Amazing Jeffo, blind magician and juggler, in Room 121 of the Education Center. At 7 p.m. Saturday Northern’s concert for students and the public will take place at the B&O Building rear plaza area where Eighteenth Street will be blocked off so that the Joe Zelek Band can take to the outdoor stage. Tickets to West Virginia Northern’s Joe Zelek concert are free to students with valid student IDs and to faculty and staff. Guest tickets for the public, for an “extremely nominal fee,” are available at the Student Activities office, Room 115 Education Center; campus counselor’s office, Room 115 B&O Building, or may be reserved by emailing Student Activities Director Shannon Payton at or by calling her at 304-214-8918. Reserve tickets may be paid for and picked up at the gate prior to the performance. This outdoor event, which will feature food vendors as well, is sponsored by the Wheeling Campus Friends of the College and will be moved to the Education Center multi-purpose room in case of inclement weather. According to Chef Gene Evans of Northern’s Culinary Arts department, there will be numerous vendors selling local produce, wine and cheese, much of it organically grown, at the Fall Harvest Festival. There is no admission charge. Evans said participating vendors include the Wine Tree Vineyards from Vienna, W.Va; Buckeye Grove Farms cheese made in Beallsville, Ohio, whose products are available at Whole Foods markets; Lucky Penny, Defiance, Ohio, which will offer organic goat cheese and feta cheese; and at least three other vendors which will be offering organic products:  Sparta Farms, Hopedale; Lone Oak Farms, Bellaire, and SANTEE Farm in Moundsville. Harvest Moon Nursery from Wellsburg will sell produce and herb plants. “We invited representatives from the North Wheeling and East Wheeling community gardens to take part in this event, too,” Evans said. Entertainment will be provided by the Manchester Hazard, a classic rock band. Northern’s Chef Chris Kefauver and Evans will be offering cooking demonstrations. Booths will be set up by CenterTown Fitness and the downtown Wheeling store Life Savers which will offer information on the vegan lifestyle. Ohio County beekeepers will have a booth along with some arts and crafts vendors. There will be a ribbon-cutting for the college’s community garden located in the front plaza of the B&O. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for the free performance by Jeff Smith, also known as The Amazing Jeffo. “I'm a magician who happens to be blind,” Smith said. “I use magic to illustrate and increase awareness of blindness and disability in a humorous and entertaining style. My performance emphasizes the ability rather than the disability of the blind and physically challenged, and promotes a respect and appreciation of differences,” he explained. “I help people feel comfortable with differences that make each of us unique,” Smith said. “Throughout my performance, I convey the ability of the blind and disabled to function in social, school and professional settings.” As part of his entertaining act, Smith discusses how he persevered to become the first blind graduate from the school of journalism at the University of Minnesota. His message weaves comedy with life lessons as he explains that he not only survived but he thrived with his disability. The Amazing Jeffo has performed more than 3,000 shows throughout the Midwest, according to his Web site. Smith became very intrigued with magic as a child after reading a book about Houdini, and played around with magic as a young boy. But a combination of rheumatoid arthritis and iritis that caused his blindness at the age of 15 also caused him to put his interest in magic aside. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he said employment opportunities “to do something that really matters” did not materialize. In 1993, Smith decided to create his own opportunities and began sharing his insights through magic and booked 125 performances that first year. He has progressed steadily ever since, doubling his annual bookings. He also teaches classes in magic and harmonica. The Amazing Jeffo’s appearance has been made possible by a grant through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Social Justice Initiatives program.


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Joe Zelek, known for "Jamboree In The Hills" and "Homecoming King", will perform Saturday at 7 p.m.