WEIRTON - The Weirton Event Center is open for business as the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted a grand opening Thursday for the facility that is set to host a number of free activities throughout the coming months.
CVB Executive Director Dan Greathouse welcomed members of the community to the facility on Thursday and thanked the many people and entities involved in making the event center a reality. He said the CVB, Hancock County Commission and the City of Weirton contributed the funding which made it possible for the structures to be built for the betterment of the community while local businesses have signed on as sponsors to ensure the activities can be held free to the public.
Mayor George Kondik said eight years ago the city was looking for something to do with the property after the former school building was condemned. He said now the residents and visitors have something to do.
"Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible," said Kondik.
John Brown of the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission said he is always amazed how partnerships come together for a common good to make things happen. He said there has been a great deal of money put into the land to remove the building and the asbestos as well as to build the current structure, and, without those partnerships, things like the Weirton Event Center couldn't happen.
Hancock County Commissioner Mike Swartzmiller said he had several warm memories of Cove School as he taught at the school from 1973 to 1984. He said he taught at a time when teachers were teachers and did many things with their students, including teach their own physical education classes at times.
RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONY — Members of the community, businesses leaders and officials gathered at the stage for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Weirton Event Center located at the old Cove School Site. A number of activities have been planned for the summer, including a free concert series called “Fridays at Five,” flea markets, farmers markets and other community events. -- Angelina Dickson
"It is an honor for the Hancock County Commission to be a part of this," Swartzmiller said. "You can't even imagine how much work Danny put into this and the CVB board as well. We have some strong personalities and don't always agree but when a vision like this comes together it is amazing."
The Weirton Event Center is an outdoor amphitheater facility designed to host a plethora of events, such as a summer concert series, flea markets, rentals and more. The site is located along East Street and overlooks the Weirton Municipal Plaza. After Greathouse visited Parkersburg and saw a similar facility, the idea was proposed for Weirton. The project includes a covered stage along with another cement pad with two water hookups and 16 electrical outlets.
Beginning May 25, a free concert series called "Fridays at Five" will feature a different band each week with different genres of music. Kicking off the season will be area an area favorite Legend and local band Chaos Killed. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the concert begins at 6 p.m.
Other concerts include: Brett Cain featuring Spinning Jenny on June 1; The Joseph Sisters on June 8; Jill West and the Blues Attack featuring Ditch on June 15; The Fabulous Bender Boys on June 22; Radio Tokyo on June 29; Key West Express on July 6; No Bad JuJu on July 27; Route 45 Band on Aug. 3 and US Kids on Aug. 10.
"On July 13 Follansbee is having their Community Days kick off and on July 20 the Greek Festival begins and we don't want to interfere with those activities so there won't be concerts on those days," Greathouse said.
Greathouse said another concert on June 9 at 7:30 p.m. will feature Apologetix, a Christian parody group sponsored by the Christian Fellowship Foundation. Also, beginning June 2 flea markets will be hosted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday and July 12 will kick off a farmer's market from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays. Local restaurants Theo Yianni's and Buckey's will be the concert events' two major vendors and will be selling food during the concerts.
Platinum sponsors for the concerts are Hancock County Commission, the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and FirstEnergy. Gold sponsors for the concerts are Hancock County Savings Bank, Chesapeake Energy and Christian Fellowship Foundation. Silver sponsors include Project BEST, DeeJay's BBQ Ribs and Grille, Frontier Communications, Renaissance Weirton, Greco-Hertnick Funeral Home and Starvaggi Charities.
Other sponsors include DiBacco Properties, Mario's Restaurant, LBRA Architecture, Gus's Goodies, Mr. and Mrs. Emanuel Starvaggi and H.E. Newman Company.
For more information contact the CVB at 304-797-7001.
(Dickson can be contacted at email@example.com)