Summer Festivities Still Ongoing

There’s no doubt about it: The Wheeling area is definitely a summer festival destination.

A variety of events have taken place all summer long, and August has become a banner month for outdoor celebrations.

For instance, area residents have their final chance to take the Friends for Freedom Tour in historic Mount Pleasant, a quaint village on the Underground Railroad circuit before and during the Civil War. The last day of the tour runs from 1-5 p.m. today, Aug. 7.

Next weekend, the bluesy sounds of the annual Heritage Music BluesFest take over Heritage Port on the Wheeling waterfront Friday through Sunday, Aug. 12-14. Meanwhile, the Mahrajan, a Lebanese festival, will occur at Site 1 in Oglebay Park from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14.

As noted on this page, the initial Wheeling Arts Fest will take place at downtown venues Saturday, Aug. 20. A preview event – the premiere of Jeremy Richter’s new play, “Political Little Ones” – will be staged at West Virginia Independence Hall at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19. The busy weekend will culminate with the Farm to Table culinary tasting event at Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21.

The final weekend of August will feature the Elizabethtown Festival in Moundsville Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 27-28; the Wheeling Wine and Jazz Festival at Heritage Port from 4-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, and the Touch of Thai cultural event at Stifel Center from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28.

Whew! Those are only the highlights of a jam-packed area calendar of events. So please don’t whine, “There’s nothing to do,” because, clearly, the month’s schedule demonstrates otherwise!

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Meanwhile, we hear that the VIP seating has been “sold out” for the premiere of the locally-produced movie, “Doughboy,” at Marquee Cinemas at The Highlands Thursday, Aug. 18.

A poster for the movie, which was shot in Wheeling earlier this year, features a photo of the World War I Doughboy monument in Wheeling Park, set against a backdrop of mountains. Yes, the background shows mountains, not Wheeling’s hills.

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Wheeling native Chelsey Keding, who’s now performing off-Broadway, had her appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s television show rescheduled for Friday, Aug. 5. Her fans were hoping that she wouldn’t be “bumped” again from the guest lineup.

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On a Civil War note, Ohio Historical Society officials announced that the group has received a grant of $31,760 from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program to identify and document the entirety of the battlefield at Buffington Island and produce a National Register amendment that will reflect the geographic magnitude of this Civil War battle in Ohio.

The battle at Buffington Island, located between Meigs County, Ohio, and Jackson County, W.Va., took place on July 19, 1863 and was the only Civil War battle fought in Ohio. Historians note that Buffington Island was the last major engagement of Morgan’s Raid, an invasion by Confederate cavalry forces under John Hunt Morgan into Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Morgan surrendered days later near Salineville, Ohio.

Regarding the new grant, Ohio Historical Society officials explained that when the Buffington Island battlefield was first listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, it included only four acres. They say that the actual size of the entire historic battlefield is approximately 11,000 acres.

The National Park Service grant will help the historical society correct this geographic inaccuracy. Officials said the new boundary will include all of the bottomlands, artillery positions on the bluffs and the stretch of the Ohio River where U.S. Navy gunboats fired on Morgan’s men.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: