The unofficial start to summer is about a week away, meaning it's that time of the year when the streets of our communities and the fairgrounds will be filling up with spectators.
The 2012 fairs and festivals season soon will get under way in the Ohio Valley.
Parents with children, senior couples and youngsters all are anticipating a taste of summertime that will include carnival rides, cotton candy, parades and various contests of skill.
Our area county fairs offer 4-H competitions, homemade pies and tractor pulls, among many other activities. Yet other area festivals offer a chance to look back to our history and help bring to mind what life was like in the centuries before. And of course, some Ohio Valley festivals provide spectacular fireworks displays.
Whatever the theme, though, each of the area's festivals are successful because they offer the opportunity to spend an enjoyable afternoon or evening with friends and family members. They also allow our area to show the best of what it has to offer to those who come from out of town to participate.
In today's edition, you will find our annual special section dedicated to the many area fairs and festivals scheduled in the coming months. Whatever your interest, you're sure to be able to find plenty to do.
Consider this random selection of events planned for our area:
One of the Tri-State Area's most popular events will take place in Steubenville in mid-June. The Traditions Festival is held at many locations throughout the city and features the Dean Martin Tribute at the Spot Bar on June 14-16 and the Dean Martin Hometown Celebration Day on June 16. The ever-popular Grecian Food Festival is slated for June 12-15 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on South Fourth Street, and the Living History Day is set for June 16 at Historic Fort Steuben.
In a short period of time, you can experience a Dino sing-along, delicious homemade baklava, gyros and other Greek goodies and learn about the fort's place in local and national history.
Another festival that continues to grow is Weirton's Fourth of July celebration. The Renaissance Weirton Committee, which is organizing the newly renamed Summerfest, is working to put together a day of family fun and festivities set to take place on July 4, starting with an early morning 5K walk/run downtown prior to the parade. A fireworks display will be launched downtown behind the Weirton Fire Department headquarters.
If you like fireworks, Treasure Island Flea Market will be the place to be when the annual Thunder in the Ville event takes place June 29-30. The event will offer a variety of food vendors, crafters and civic and charitable organizations and fireworks the last night.
A popular Brooke County event is Follansbee Community Days, this year scheduled for July 13-15, when a variety of food, craft and other vendors will set up in Follansbee Park's parking lot as well as the Follansbee Community House. The event also will feature a classic car show, fireworks and live entertainment.
It wouldn't be summer without the annual Jefferson County Fair at Friendship Park in Smithfield. This year's events are scheduled for Aug. 14-19. Mud bogs, a cheerleading competition and a demolition derby add to the usual 4-H judgings and the livestock auction.
And, returning for a second year is the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Stars and Stripes Concert and Festival, slated for July 1 at Harding Stadium in Steubenville.
The concert will feature the Clarks, with special guest the Joe Zelek Band.
We couldn't possiblly feature every festival planned this season in this space, but take our word for it that there's something for everyone in the form of fairs and festivals in the coming months.