WHEELING - Whether you compete in the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic or take a more relaxed approach, you are sure to find something to do in Wheeling this Memorial Day weekend.
Though the Ogden race events - set for Friday and Saturday, May 25-26 - is the weekend's premier event, Race Director R."Scat" Scatterday wants everyone to know there is much more going on from May 24-28.
"I have often told potential visitors, as well as our local folks, come to Wheeling to find Mayberry. Here, you find people who are friendly, decent, honest and who care for one another," Scatterday said referring to the fictional town of Mayberry made famous by "The Andy Griffith Show" decades ago.
The events actually start Thursday, when the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upper Ohio Valley will host the "Wing Ding" chicken wing eating contest at 5:30 p.m. at WesBanco Arena.
Friday afternoon, food vendors on Water Street at Heritage Port will be set up to feed those working in downtown Wheeling - or anyone else looking to enjoy themselves at the waterfront.
The 6-mile Ogden Torch Relay begins at 4 p.m. Friday at the Osiris Shrine Temple in Elm Grove. The estimated two-hour event culminates at the Half Marathon's start/finish line on 14th Street in downtown Wheeling.
Scatterday said the relay is designed to honor all members of the military, both past and present. "We encourage anyone who wishes to honor a member of the military to come out and join us," he said.
Carrying the torch to the finish this year will be U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., who will speak to the crowd about the importance of Memorial Day once he completes the relay.
At 6:45 p.m. Friday, the non-competitive Ogden Tiny Tot Trot for children 5 years old and younger will occur on 14th Street between Main and Market streets.
At 7:15 p.m. Friday, the Ogden Fun Run will kick off at the top of Wheeling Hill near the old Windmill building.
The run is the last mile of the Half Marathon race course. And at 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Ogden Mile and Masters Mile will begin in the same location.
At 6 a.m. Saturday, late registration at WesBanco Arena begins for all Ogden race events that launch on 14th Street. The Half Marathon walk steps off at 7:30 a.m., followed by the main event at 8 a.m. - the Half Marathon run.
At 8:15 a.m. Saturday, the 5K Run and Walk for Health begins. The 5K awards ceremony is set for 9:30 a.m., with the Half Marathon awards ceremony at 11:30 a.m. at Heritage Port.
In the midst of all this, "The Original Easy Street" will play a free concert on the Heritage Port Stage, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday. Oglebay Institute's Towngate Theater will showcase "Bridges" at 8 p.m.
Registration for the Wheeling Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour begins at 8 a.m. Sunday at Heritage Port. The event gets under way at 8:30 a.m. and includes three different bike tours: 10 miles, 25 miles and 100 kilometers, or 62 miles.
Most of the city's high school seniors will graduate this weekend as well. At 11 a.m. Saturday, Wheeling Central Catholic High School will hold its commencement exercises at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater at Oglebay Park. The Linsly School will hold its graduation at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Stifel Field House, and Wheeling Park High School's commencement is set for 3 p.m. Sunday at WesBanco Arena.
Later Sunday, at 7 p.m., a free concert is scheduled at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater, featuring the "Hot Pursuit" band.
On May 28, Memorial Day, a public memorial service is scheduled at 11 a.m. at Heritage Port with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and the Marine Corps League. In case of inclement weather, the service will be held at WesBanco Arena.
Also on Memorial Day, there will be a free concert featuring Black Slaney and the Trainjumpers at 7 p.m. at Heritage Port.
For more information, go to www.ogdenhalfmarathonclassic.com.