While our communities definitely have their drawbacks, one of the great things about each of our local towns and cities is they find time to come together periodically.
Our area has a variety of community activities and celebrations, whether it be setting off fireworks on the Fourth of July, celebrating a well-known singer who called the Ohio Valley home, observing a cultural heritage or simply holding a neighborhood party of some sort.
There are county fairs, cooking challenges, poker runs and other types of fundraisers, and sporting events throughout the region.
I know we each have a tendency to focus on what is going on in our hometown, but sometimes we need to look at the bigger picture to truly enjoy what we have.
Sometimes that is going to mean driving to Wheeling, or Chester, or Steubenville, or Burgettstown.
This past week was a big one in Steubenville, for example, celebrating both its Greek heritage and the life of Dean Martin. Prior to that, its history was observed through a celebration at the Old Fort Steuben, where colonial-era re-enactments and archeological information was presented to showcase one of the valley's earliest settlements.
Weirton's Greek Festival will be here in less than a month, and is always a big draw. That will be followed by the 25 Year Club Picnic, which often brings former steelworkers into town from around the country.
The Red Knights will be holding their annual motorcycle run/fundraiser next weekend, and another group of riders - these ones bicyclists - also apparently will be kicking off a ride of their own locally.
The Follansbee Community Days also will be coming up fast, with several days of music, food and other celebrations planned.
Independence Day will be observed up and down the Ohio River, with fireworks displays, parades, concerts and much more.
In Weirton, for example, the Wheeling Symphony will make its return on July 3 at the Weirton Event Center, and July 4 will feature the annual Weirton Independence Day parade and the new Band Blast event, which will lead into the planned fireworks display.
Wellsburg holds a week-long celebration of the Fourth of July, with days filled with activities, including races, concerts and much more.
This weekend, their was a wing contest in Wheeling, and I've heard about an upcoming barbecue event in Steubenville.
Speaking of food contests, I'm hearing about a possible chili cook-off being planned for later in the summer in Weirton. Hopefully, we'll learn more about that soon and it can become a big event for the area.
And these are just a few of the ones taking place this summer. We still have county fairs, the Riverfest and much more set for the autumn months.
Our area is pretty great when it comes to putting together these types of activities, no matter the size or duration.
Will you possibly have to take a little drive to get there? Sure. But, sometimes, that's part of the adventure.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)