STEUBENVILLE - The Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times are ready for the high school football season and helping area residents show their team pride with a return of the popular slap fans.
The fans will be available at home football games at several area schools, including Thursday's doubleheader at Robert Kettlewell Memorial Stadium in Wintersville.
Indian Creek and Weir High will meet at 5:30 p.m., while Weirton Madonna will meet Beallsville at approximately 7:45 p.m. The games are part of the McDonald's-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Kickoff Weekend.
TO BE DISTRIBUTED — Maggie McGinnis, inside sales supervisor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, displays slap fans that will be distributed during a football home game for several area high schools. The fans will feature team schedules. -- Summer Wallace-Minger
Newspaper employees will be passing out special commemorative slap fans which will feature complete season schedules for all three teams.
"We did this two years ago - we started with a Big Red doubleheader - and the next year, people had heard about (the slap fans) and were asking for them," said Maggie McGinnis, inside sales supervisor of the newspapers. "The football moms came by, and they grabbed a bunch. We distributed all of them. They've become very popular, and people usually grab a couple - they use them as clappers and as fans at the beginning of the season and some use them to sit on."
This is the third year the newspapers have offered the slap fans, and they've been so popular that they've been extended to eight teams - Indian Creek, Weir, Madonna, Steubenville Big Red, Oak Glen, Edison, Toronto, Brooke and Steubenville Catholic Central.
"These are sure to be a great keepsake for many of our local football fans during the upcoming season," said Craig Howell, managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times.
Fans also will be available at Big Red's Thursday game at Harding Stadium in Steubenville; the Oak Glen-Edison game Friday at the Oak Glen Multi-Sports Complex in New Manchester; Toronto's Saturday game in Toronto; Brooke's Sept. 6 game at Brooke Memorial Stadium in Wellsburg; and Central's Sept. 21 game at Harding Stadium.
"We have wanted to offer them at more schools, and Weirton Medical Center and the supporting school sponsors made that possible," said McGinnis.
The major sponsor is Weirton Medical Center. Supporting school sponsors include Steubenville City Schools, Blackie and Son Excavating and Paving, Serbian-American Cultural Center, Everhart-Bove Funeral Homes, Village of Wintersville, Dr. James E. Volk, Weirton Wal-Mart, Frank's Bar and Grill, Catholic Central High School, Triple Play Cafe, Village Sleep Center, Jerry Gast of Allstate Insurance, Clarke Funeral Home, the Wyngate Senior Living Community, McBane Insurance and Financial Services, Fahey Insurance Agency Inc., Anthony Mining Co., Wells West End Excavating Inc., Richmond Self Storage, Sweeney-Dodds Funeral Home, Steubenville Bakery, Forever Young, Eberhart Service Center, TC Auto Repair, Toronto City Schools, Ohio Catering, the Countryside, Traubert's Pharmacy, J.E. Foster Funeral Homes Inc., Findley Street Laundromat and Graphics in Print.
"Thanks to our sponsors, area fans will be able to cheer on their teams with a unique and fun item," said Ross Galllabrese, executive editor of the newspapers. "This year's slap fans are items that fans can hold onto as they follow their favorite teams throught the regular season and, hopefully, into the playoffs."
No football season is complete without the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times' annual Pigskin Preview. Additional copies of the publication, which has been inserted into today's issue, will be available for $1.50 at participating local retailers.
They include: Valleyview Superette in Chester; Nash Mini Mart in Weirton; 7-Eleven in Weirton; Granato's Deli in Weirton; Convenient Food Mart in Weirton; Mark's Carry Out and Mark's Carry Out 2 in Wellsburg; Mingo Pharmacy in Mingo Junction; Bukmirs in Brilliant; Pytash in Richmond; Maryland Market in Steubenville; Razors Edge in Wintersville; Truax Quik Stop in Steubenville; Smith Oil in Wellsburg, New Cumberland and Wintersville; and Kwik King locations in Toronto, Steubenville, Follansbee, Weirton and Wintersville.