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Wellsburg getting ready to celebrate Independence Day

READY FOR THE FOURTH — The Wellsburg 4th of July Committee has been busy preparing for a week-long celebration of Independence Day, including the return of the West Virginia Vietnam Veterans Mobile Wall. The group includes, front, from left, Debbie Baker; Della Serevicz; Barbara Yoder, who co-chairs the group with Darin Pizer; and Howard Lauck: middle, Glenda Zink; Steve Lauck; Cecil Toner; and Jenna Furioli: and back, Vietnam War veteran Jack Ernest; Greg Cheeks; and Pam and Kylie Toner. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Area residents are invited to join Wellsburg in celebrating Independence Day with a week of special events, including the return of the West Virginia Vietnam Mobile Wall, free nightly concerts, a parade and fireworks.

Established in 2013 by the West Virginia State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America in Nemours, W.Va., the wall is similar in design to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. But it differs in that it bears only the names of the 732 West Virginians who were killed 17 as well as many from the mountain state who were prisoners of war or declared missing in action.

Organizers behind the monument said their goal is to take the wall throughout the state for people unable to view the monument in Washington or mobile replicas that travel throughout the United States.

The wall will be displayed at Central Park at 18th and Charles streets July 2-3, with a service to be held there at 6 p.m. July 2. Jack Earnest, a Vietnam veterans who returned to the country as a missionary, will be the guest speaker.

Veteran Greg Cheeks, who helped to arrange the wall’s visit, said since it came to the city in 2014, many have requested its return.

He said several private contributions made that possible, and he continues to accept donations to defray costs for its transportation and insurance.

Co-chaired by Barbara Yoder and Darin Pizer, the week runs June 28 through July 4 with free concerts from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on six of the days. There also will be inflatable attractions for children on each night except July 3.

Some seating will be available, but attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets.

The lineup includes Spinning Jenny on June 28; U.S. Kids on June 29; Cross Creek on June 30; Twice as Nice on July 1; the Sarah Hays Band on July 2; and Refugee on July 3.

Pizer said the concerts and other events held during the week wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of area businesses and others.

“We’ve had some new businesses step up as well as residents who have made donations,” Pizer said.

Other events include activities for children from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on June 28-29 and July 2-3 at the 4th Ward Park; a patriotic-themed bingo benefiting the Wellsburg Fire Department, June 28, doors to open at 5 p.m.; Wellsburg 5K Run-Walk, June 30, registration at 8 a.m. on the Town Square; Crooked Dock restaurant’s volleyball tournament, 10:30 a.m. June 30; cornhole tournament, 11:30 a.m. June 30 ; fishing tournament at 6:30 a.m. July 1 at the 12th Street boat dock; an ecumenical worship service at 10:30 a.m. July 1 at Central Park; a horseshoe tournament, 11 a.m. July 1, Betty Carr Recreation Site; and community town picnic, with food supplied by Kroger, noon July 1.

The festivities on Independence Day will begin with a flag-raising ceremony at the E.R. Nichols 1st Ward Park at 8:30 a.m., with the Wellsburg Oil Can Derby to follow on Fourth Street. Similar to the Soapbox Derby, the race was named for the oil cans manufactured by Eagle Manufacturing, its sponsor for many years. Now sponsored by Al’s Auto Service, it’s open to boys and girls ages 8-14. For information about the race, call Fred Marino at (304) 737-2271.

The Independence Day parade will be held that day at 7 p.m. on Charles Street. Serving as grand marshal will be Enrique Herrera of Weirton, a Brooke High School student who was named Division I Young Marine of the Year.

The Wellsburg Kiwanis Club invites area youth to decorate their bicycles in a patriotic theme for a contest to be held before the parade at 6 p.m. on the Town Square. The children may appear in the parade on their bikes.

The day will conclude with a fireworks display at dusk. Many gather to view the pyrotechnics from the Betty Carr Recreation Site near 17th and Main streets.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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