Some fun is coming this summer

Spring will officially begin later this week, and the weather is starting to get a little warmer.

This weekend, our area helped to welcome the seasonal change with the annual Tri-State Home and Garden Show here in Weirton. It’s an event which has become a tradition in the region, with dozens of businesses lined up to showcase some of their products and services and residents looking for ideas for those home improvement projects planned for the next few months.

By all accounts, it appears to once again be a big success and I’m sure it will come back again next year.

I didn’t get a chance to spend too much time there this weekend, but from what I saw there was a great deal to take in.

Even our newspapers were there, selling tickets to several of our upcoming events, such as the Taste of Home Cooking School and the lecture event featuring author and former CIA agent Antonio Mendez.

I did manage to pick up a few things, and one in particular I hope caught some attention.

The Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau featured a sneak preview of this year’s lineup for the “Free Fridays” concert series at the Weirton Event Center.

The concert series was started in 2012 along with the opening of the Weirton Event Center on the site formerly occupied by Cove School in Weirton.

I was able to go to most of the concerts last summer, and, considering it was its first year, I think the response was decent.

It will take some time to build up the crowds seen at other area venues, and I?hope the lineup set for this summer helps to bring some of those in.

The concert series was started by the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau, with support from several area businesses, in an attempt to provide a free activity just about every Friday night in the summer for area residents.

It focuses on local and regional bands playing a variety of music that I think will appeal to many people, whether it be parents, grandparents, kids or whatever.

It’s a nice evening with free entertainment and a place to spend time with friends and family.

Some of this year’s acts are returning, while there are a couple of new groups lined up as well.

It will kick off May 24 with local band Legend, which always puts on a good show with a selection of classic tunes.

Deja Vu follows up May 31 and local group Three’s Company will be on June 7.

Jill West and the Blues Attack will make their return June 14 and Wheeling area bluegrass group Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys will be there June 21.

The Delivery Boys were the special guests last summer during the Wheeling Symphony Live performance, and while I’m not a huge bluegrass fan by any means, I think people enjoyed them.

By the way, that night will feature a little something extra with a planned fireworks display.

Easy Street will be there June 28 and the Wheeling Symphony will make its annual trip to Weirton July 5 to help celebrate the Independence Day weekend. Capping off the symphony’s performance is another planned fireworks display.

The series will begin winding down July 26 with an appearance by Ohio Valley favorites US Kids and Spinning Jenny, followed by the Joseph Sisters on Aug. 2.

All three groups have a big following in our area, and I’m sure there will be crowds at their performances.

Last, but hopefully not least, the Free Fridays series will be capped off with an appearance by Beatlemagic.

The group, which formed in 1999, is considered among the best Beatles tribute bands in the nation, and tours nationally and into Canada to large crowds.

There are a lot of Beatles fans in this country, so I can only imagine this will be a huge show.

There are many fairs, festivals, concerts and other events offered each summer in our area. There also are many volunteers who work to organize each activity.

Many of them are absolutely free to residents and visitors and provide a great experience for those in attendance.

I hope everyone keeps an eye out in the coming months for these events and takes some time to check out all of the local fun and excitement.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)