STEUBENVILLE - The stage has been set. Literally.
Harding Stadium is now a showplace for country music, outdoor entertainment and a spectacular view for the city's fireworks.
Now, all that's needed is the support of a community.
FINAL?PLANS — Sue Hershey, left, president of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, and Alex Marshall, chairman of the chamber, finalized preparations Saturday for today’s Stars and Stripes Concert at Harding Stadium. Tickets are still available in all seating sections, ranging in price from $15 to $25. VIP packages for chamber investors and sponsors are also being sold for $60 each.
Weather forecasters have predicted Mother Nature will diminish the rain showers by early this afternoon, bringing partly sunny skies to the area just in time for today's Stars and Stripes Concert.
Sponsored by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and WTOV-TV, the highly-anticipated Fourth of July celebration will feature performances by Joe Zelek at 5 p.m., Josh Thompson at 6:30 p.m., and headliner Little Big Town at 8 p.m. Fireworks by Zambelli Fireworks Internationale will conclude the evening at approximately 9:45 p.m.
Alex Marshall, chairman of the chamber, expressed his gratitude to those who have worked so diligently to bring such an event to the area.
"I don't think there has ever been something of this degree here before," he said Saturday. "I am really proud of the work Sue (Hershey, chamber president) and her staff, as well as the volunteer committee and board of directors have done to bring this concert to Steubenville, Ohio.
"We would not have been able to come this far without the chamber of commerce," Marshall continued. "And this is yet another opportunity for us to showcase both the progress and the economic development of this community.
"This city has always supported us, and we are hoping they will give these acts a large amount of support, too," he said. "This will help us be able to plan future events, which will in turn bring an investment back into the city."
Hershey, who serves as the chamber's president, added to Marshall's sentiments, saying so many have come together to make today a success.
"Everyone is so positive about this," she said, remarking that she hopes the community's enthusiasm for the Stars and Stripes Concert matches that of business and corporate sponsors.
"This will market our area for future events as well," she added.
"We are drawing upon this community to make this event successful," Marshall concluded. "Even if you are not a country music fan, I guarantee you will have a good time, be impressed and be glad that you came."
"Every seat at Harding Stadium is a good one for viewing the show, and there are plenty of seats still available in every section," Hershey said.
Tickets will be sold throughout today at all area Kwik King stores up until showtime. Tickets may also be purchased between 10 a.m. and showtime at Harding Stadium.
Prices range from $15 for end stadium seating to $20 for middle stadium seating. Field seating is also available at the cost of $25. VIP tickets are also being sold to chamber investors and major sponsors at the cost of $120 for a package of two or individually for $60. The package includes one parking permit, seating close to the stage and a country buffet catered by Froehlich's Classic Corner. The buffet will feature an outdoor grill and beverages.
Major sponsors include the city of Steubenville, YES Team, Steubenville City Schools, WTOV-TV, Hollywood City Center and Chesapeke Energy.
The VIP event will be held between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
"We are thrilled with what has been accomplished in such a short amount of time," Marshall commented. "We have all been watching with excitement the construction of the stage and the quality work which has been done to produce sophisticated lighting and sound."
Those with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 246 constructed the stage and will also tear down the structure following the concert. Mashall also acknowledged Bill Heaberlin of MPE and his staff for their work in producing the stage, sound and lighting, as well as booking the concert entertainment.
Prior to the gates opening at 4 p.m. for the concert, several activities are being planned in honor of Independence Day.
A classic car show will be held in the Harding Middle School parking lot from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; a family fun zone will be in operation from noon to 4 p.m. at the practice field; and vendors selling all types of festival-style foods will be set up in the practice field area from noon to 10 p.m.
A DJ and karaoke can be heard between the hours of noon to 5 p.m. and a beer corral will open at 1 p.m. and continue through 8:30 p.m. in the Kroger parking lot.
WOGH-FM will be broadcasting live between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The Smiley Cookie Mobile will be on site at the practice field passing out cookies this afternoon, and free swimming is being offered at Belleview Park.
Gold sponsors include Apollo, the Fort Steuben Mall, WesBanco, the Herald-Star, Choice Brands, Iron City Distributing - Labatts Beer. Silver sponsors are New York Life - John Cucarese; Iron City Distributing - Mike's Hard Lemonade; and Health Plan. Bronze sponsors include Kwik King, Riley Petroleum, Jefferson Security and EM-Media.
(Ghrist can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)