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Showing the way: Business donates signs to Brooke Hills Park

SIGN, SIGN, EVERYWHERE A SIGN — Aladdin Signs staff members Paula Martindill, Mike McAllister and K.J. McLaughlin install one of more than 20 signs donated to Brooke Hills Park by the Wellsburg business. The new signs direct visitors to various recreational facilities at the park. (Photo by Warren Scott)

WELLSBURG — In recent years, Brooke Hills Park has grown, with the addition of five cabins, a disc golf course and other attractions, and a local business is helping to ensure visitors can better find their way around.

Crews with Aladdin Signs recently installed more than 20 signs providing direction to various areas of the park after Dan Holladay, owner of the 31-year-old business, offered to donate them.

Holladay said he appreciates the park’s efforts to provide local residents and visitors with things to do and has tried to support its various activities, including the Brooke County Fair, in some way each year.

“It was a pleasure for us to do it. We want the park to be successful,” he said.

Holladay said the signs vary in size, according the lettering required for each area, but all stand high enough to be read from about 100 feet away.

Park Manager Janice McFadden expressed thanks to Aladdin Signs and to park board member Paul “Bud” Billiard, who had approached Holladay about providing an estimate for the signs.

McFadden said it’s been a challenging year, with the fair and other events canceled or altered to comply with recommendations for social distancing made by public officials to deter spread of the coronavirus.

But she noted the park also has benefited from being an outdoor attraction where people can spend time together with less concern.

McFadden said while Nov. 8 is the last day for golfing and most other activities there, there are still a few plans for the upcoming Christmas season.

She said the park will again host a brunch with Santa Claus for children on Dec. 5 at the Bald Eagle Shelter. It will be held rain or shine because the shelter will be covered to prevent the cold and other elements from entering.

McFadden said seating will be limited so parents and guardians should watch for a notice to make reservations in the near future.

She said the park’s clubhouse and surrounding area also will be decorated for the holidays but a light-up ceremony won’t be held because space in the clubhouse, where refreshments normally are served, won’t comply with current recommendations.

In recent years the clubhouse also was the site of many wreaths donated by various individuals and groups for a drawing benefiting the park.

McFadden said so everyone may see the wreaths and buy chances on them, Joelle DeVore, the park’s office manager, will be posting photos of them on the park’s Facebook page.

She noted it’s a task DeVore performed this summer for a virtual scavenger hunt in which everyone was challenged to identify areas of the park in which she was pictured for a chance to win passes to the park’s swimming pool, miniature golf course and other attractions.

“Those have been a big hit with everybody. She did a great job with that,” said McFadden.

Chances for the wreaths are $1 each or six for $5, with the drawing set for Dec. 19.

McFadden noted the Brooke County Arts Council, the parent organization of Brooke Hills Playhouse, continues to raise money for operations and maintenance of the Civil War era barn at the park that serves as its home.

In recognition of the playhouse’s upcoming 50th anniversary, the council has challenged the thousands who have appeared in its many productions or toiled behind the scenes to donate at least $5 to its Save the Barn fund.

For information, visit the playhouse’s Facebook page or call (304) 737-3344.

Because of the pandemic, the playhouse’s offerings were limited to one production this year, but organizers are hopeful for a longer season in 2021.

McFadden said the pandemic forced the park to change some of the ways it operates. Some were a necessary inconvenience, but others were for the better, she said.

For example, the park began taking appointments for tee times on its 18-hole, par-3 golf course to ensure spacing between golfers.

While not popular with all patrons, the move has been appreciated by some and will likely become a permanent measure, she said.

McFadden said overall the park has managed to weather the pandemic.

“Considering everything we had to deal with, we did pretty well,” she said.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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