Events and Festivals Throughout The Year
By ROBERT A. DEFRANK
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Many unique events and festivals find their way onto the Belmont County calendar each year, according to Tourism Director Ballint.
Ballint said the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival, held in September, saw some national attention in 2017, with the King Pumpkin weighing in at more than 2,000 pounds.
“Breaking state and national records,” she said, adding that the pumpkin festival often brings close to 100,000 people to the area during a four-day period. “People from all over the state are aware of the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival.”
Ballint said the pumpkin festival is one of the county’s premiere events, along with Jamboree In The Hills and the Belmont County Fair. She said while Jamboree In The Hills brings crowds of adults, the fair is highly popular among 4-H members, who have the opportunity to showcase their accomplishments.
Spring is another period for the area to celebrate and share its history.
“When the spring takes off, most of our annual community events (take place),” Ballint said. “Some of our better-known community events are, of course, the Martins Ferry Betty Zane Days, the Bellaire All-American Days, and the Shadyside Loop Festival.”
The Betty Zane Days, held in August, turns the city park into a center of activity, fun and music.
“The Betty Zane Days is just than annual community festival that represents the history of that area,” Ballint said.
“That’s definitely one of those community events that just pulls everybody together.”
Bellaire All-American Days in June has a patriotic flair, with vendors, carnival rides and crafts.
“That festival was recently inherited by the Bellaire Fire Department, and they’ve really brought that festival back to life. It was very well-attended last year and it just seems to be growing each year. It just brings people in that community to their streets to be able to enjoy each others’ company and community.”
Another June event is the Shadyside Loop Festival, which takes advantage of the community’s distinct geography and layout to provide a festive occasion.
Meanwhile, November also saw a new addition to Martins Ferry’s festivals, which drew together several Christmastime traditions in town.
“The community of Martins Ferry just kicked off an annual event last year called Winter Fest,” she said. “Last year was the first event, and they tied that in with the annual Firemans’ Christmas Parade and kicked it off with a tree lighting, and they had over 2,000 in attendance.
The event had the street full of craft vendors, live entertainment, a beer garden, and an outdoor skating rink for children. It was extremely successful.”
Ballint said another event not to be missed was the Powhatan Point “Christmas in the Village” in November, the last festival of the year.
“I would say the Powhatan Point Christmas in the Village is one of our best-kept secrets as far as one of our small community fairs and festivals,” she said.
Ballint said many of the fairs are festivals are highly valued and enjoy the support of the Tourism Board through Grant Assistance Program funds and publicity.