WHEELING - Summer officially sprints into Wheeling and the Ohio Valley this week with a full slate of events set for Memorial Day weekend.
A half-marathon race, services honoring veterans, bicycle tours, concerts and graduations are among the offerings available Friday through next Monday.
Ogden Half Marathon Race Director R. "Scat" Scatterday noted there is much going on in the Wheeling area throughout Memorial Day weekend.
"It's more than just a race," he said. "It's a four-day reason for families to get together and do unusual things like run a marathon, take a bicycle tour or go to concerts. Then there are memorial services honoring veterans.
"There certainly has to be something for everyone in the family, and there's still time left for graduations and picnics."
It is the honoring of military veterans that serves as the basis for Memorial Day weekend, and veterans' groups in many local communities will be hosting services Monday.
In Wheeling, American Legion Post 1 will conduct Memorial Day services at 11 a.m. Monday at the Heritage Port amphitheater.
"Memorial Day is a day to remember, respect and pay tribute to our veterans," John Brafchak, adjutant for American Legion Post 1, said. "Without it, none of this is possible."
John Marshall High School, Wheeling Central Catholic High School and The Linsly School all have graduations set for the weekend.
Events surrounding the 37th annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic Run and Walk kick off at 4 p.m. Friday with a Torch Relay honoring United States armed forces, past and present.
The relay begins at the Osiris Shrine Temple and makes its way along National Road to the starting line for the race at 14th and Main streets in Wheeling.
The Torch Run is followed at 6:45 p.m. Friday by the Ogden Tiny Tot Trot, sponsored by Ohio Valley Parent Magazine. It begins under the WesBanco skywalk on 14th Street.
The Ogden Fun Run is at 7:15 p.m. while the Ogden Mile starts at 7:30 p.m., both atop Wheeling Hill.
Race events continue Saturday with the Half Marathon Walk starting at 7:30 a.m. The Half Marathon Run and Run Relay set off at 8 a.m. followed by the Ogden Newspapers 5K Run/Walk For Health at 8:15 a.m.
On Sunday, the seventh annual Wheeling Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour begins at 8 a.m., with the 62-mile ride starting at Heritage Port. It follows Heritage Trail to the new section of the Brooke Pioneer Trail, and leaves the trail for a loop through Bethany and West Liberty with a stop at Bethany College.
There also will be 10-mile and 30-mile rides along the trail for those participating.
Participants will return to Heritage Port for lunch and entertainment.
The tour takes place regardless of the weather.
Three free concerts are slated for Heritage Port during the weekend. The first is set for 9 a.m. Saturday during race activities.
The Summer Kick-Off Concert then happens at 7 p.m. Saturday, and the Memorial Day Summer Concert is set for 7 p.m. Monday.
The Easy Street Band also will present a free concert at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater at Oglebay Park at 7 p.m. Sunday.