A reminder of some of our local traditions

This last week, we were reminded of just a few of the many ties that bind our communities together.

Whether it be Weirton, New Cumberland, Follansbee, Steubenville, Burgettstown, Wheeling or some of the towns in between, there are certain things in which we take pride. These include some of our more unique festivities.

We are fortunate in our area to have so many.

Over the last three days, we saw the return of the Weirton Greek Festival at All Saints Greek Orthodox Church.

In its 32nd year, this is an event many look forward to each July, myself included.

Organizers explained last year’s event drew in approximately 8,500 patrons, and I have been told Friday night was one of the busiest that has ever been seen at the festival. With lots of amazing food, live entertainment and a sense of fellowship we don’t often see these days, it’s understandable why people keep coming back.

As they say, you may come in a stranger, but you leave a friend.

Saturday featured the Weirton Steel 25-Year Club’s annual picnic, which continues to be an opportunity for local mill workers, past and present, to gather and share memories of their days in Weirton’s primary industrial facilities.

Most of us have some connection with Weirton Steel, or the companies which have owned the mill since 2005. It’s good to see the picnic keep going.

Just a little south of there, we saw the annual Follansbee Community Days, complete with three days of vendors, live entertainment, a parade, car show and fireworks.

It’s a celebration of their home and their people, but you don’t have to be from Follansbee to be welcomed.

All of these events are landmarks of the summer season in the Upper Ohio Valley, possibly even more than our holiday festivities.

Next weekend, we’ll see a new event that, perhaps, will find a way to become just as ingrained into our civic network.

Organized as a fundraiser for Weir High School’s Class of 2020, the Weirton Food Truck Festival will be held Saturday at the Weirton Event Center.

There is live entertainment and other activities planned, and well over a dozen food trucks from which to choose. Food selections will range from barbecue to pizza, sushi to tacos and even ice cream.

Food trucks have been common in larger cities, but have only started to be seen in our area in the last few years, so to organize an entire festival featuring these restaurants on wheels is a cool concept. Hopefully, future Weir High classes, or maybe even one of our local community organizations, will help to keep it going in the future.

These are just a few events going on in our area. There are many that tie us all together, becoming a part of our local culture and history as they celebrate our communities, our churches or our employers. They help to show that, no matter our backgrounds or how we were raised, there will always be something we have in common. Every once in a while, something new is organized to join the festival calendar, providing us with a new way to enjoy our region.

We are united in those ways, by these traditions and celebrations in which we all can partake. Some of those attending these events plan their vacation time around them, traveling from across the country to return home and spend time with family and friends.

You don’t have to belong to a certain group to enjoy many of our events. We are welcome and often build new relationships as a result. Tradition helps to build us, unite us and keeps us moving forward.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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