WHEELING - The area's premier fall festival - Oglebayfest - begins Friday, Oct. 4, and continues through Sunday, Oct. 6.
Held annually at Oglebay Park, Oglebayfest began in 1978 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the park and provides an annual "thank-you" to all who visit the grounds and facilities year-round.
The Phil Maxwell Artists' and Gourmet Market, located in the Mansion Woods next to the Mansion Museum, features regional foods and an extensive display of fine handcrafted wares plus a chance to see some of the tri-state's best artisans at work.
Jars of homemade goods decorated with winner ribbons line shelves at the Ohio County Country Fair.
Held in conjunction with Oglebayfest, the Ohio County Country Fair at the park's Site One, features displays of elaborate quilts, homegrown foods and gentle animals on Saturday and Sunday. The fair offers a variety of traditional fair demonstrations and competitions for all ages including quilting demonstrations, 4-H rabbit show and auction, butter making, hog calling, fiddling, rock throwing and baby crawling competitions. It is also host to the West Virginia Pony Pull Championship and the baked goods auction.
Two crowd-pleasing favorites, the Oglebayfest parade and the fireworks, will take place on Saturday. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Good Zoo and, at 8 p.m., an electrifying fireworks display will light up the evening sky over Schenk Lake.
Oglebayfest is also famous for its food. The Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Wilson Lodge has several special menus and buffets including the Seafood Buffet on Friday evening and the Prime Rib Buffet on Saturday. The Rathskeller, located at Hess Shelter, is one of Oglebayfest's most popular destinations. The Harvest Carnival at the Wagon Shed returns with lots of fun foods.
The Country Kitchen and the Ohio County Country Fair will be serving up goodies at Levenson Shelter and Site One. Hot soup, sandwiches and pie will be available at the Garden Center, and snacks and sandwiches will be available at the Good Zoo, Schenk Lake and the Artists' Market Woods. Fudge, candy and beverages will be available at Gourmet in the Gardens.
Shops of Oglebay will be open during Oglebayfest including Carriage House Glass, the Nature Express Shop at the Good Zoo, the Palm Room by the greenhouse, Wheeling Civic Center Garden Center, Farmhouse Sweets & Treats Shoppe, and the Speidel Pro Shop at the Hamm Clubhouse. For those that enjoy walking, the Susan Wheeler Walking Trails at Oglebay offer great views, especially as the foliage begins to take on fall colors.
An extension to the trail system recently opened, offering a new paved path from Wilson Lodge to the Pine Room.
Oglebayfest offers free parking and the shuttle buses provide easy access to all of the festival's activities. Special Oglebayfest overnight packages are available at Wilson Lodge. Call 800-624-6988 or book online.