Guest column/There was plenty to do in our community during June

No one could complain that there was nothing to do in June in Steubenville. Starting with Ohio Valley Frontier Days, the Greek Food Festival, the Dean Martin Festival and Hometown Celebration and finishing with the concert and fireworks of the Stars and Stripes Festival at Harding Stadium, there was something for everyone.

As director of Historic Fort Steuben and the Steubenville Visitors Center, I was involved in organizing or promoting these events and know how much time and effort went into them. None of them would have happened if there had not been a loyal crew of volunteers, committed organizations and faithful businesses who contributed the necessary money and manpower.

The weather was great for Ohio Valley Frontier Days at Historic Fort Steuben, which drew hundreds of families from the Tri-State Area. They loved hearing the stories from Chief Logan, learning about 18th century military life from the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment and riding the ponies of the Thundering Hooves 4-H group. There was music by Steve Free, Bill Schilling and Rich and Kathy Small; lots of American Indian activities and crafts; and demonstrations of early American skills, as well as tours of Fort Steuben and the First Federal Land Office.

We unveiled the 1830 survey stone, a notable historical marker that is the first of many artifacts we plan to display in our Surveyors’ Museum. It was a perfect weekend for hands-on history and fun.

The Greek Food Festival also drew crowds to the town … this time looking for the fabulous food and delightful music offered by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

Visitors from all over the country and locals alike enjoyed the wonderful entertainment of the annual Dean Martin Festival.

The organizers always plan a terrific show, and the block around the Spot Bar was throbbing with Italian melodies and the music of native son Dean Martin and his pals.

The Hometown Celebration added food and souvenir vendors to the day as well as a Children’s Fun Zone at Fort Steuben Park and a Rat Pack Concert at the high school.

The Dean Martin events not only provided memorable activities but also music scholarships and donations to the local high schools’ performing arts programs.

The month came to a sparkling conclusion with the Stars & Stripes Festival and Concert and fireworks at Harding Stadium. The variety of talented performers and entertainment, things to do and buy and eat made the day a true celebration.

Many of June’s activities were free or low-cost, making them even more valuable for families struggling in the present economy.

There is no way I can list all those who were responsible for making June “Festival Month” in Steubenville, but I thank each and every one who worked to make it a success and all those who attended.

But I must thank members of the events committee who joined me to plan, coordinate and promote all the events: Jerry Barilla and Mary Snyder of Historic Fort Steuben; Sue Hershey from the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce; Tim McCoy of WTOV-TV; Mayor Domenick Mucci; Ann Koon of Eastern Gateway Community College; Anita Jackson of Franciscan University of Steubenville; Keith Murdock of Trinity Health System; Jojo DiAlbert of the the Spot Bar; Rikki Kamarados of the Downtown Bakery; former City Manager Cathy Davison; and Mark Nelson of Nelson Fine Art and Gifts.

It’s hard to believe, but this committee will be meeting again soon to plan the 2013 Christmas Parade.

With everyone’s cooperation, we hope it will be another success for Steubenville.

(Bratten is executive director of Historic Fort Steuben and the Steubenville Visitors Center.)