Full Weekend of Activities on Tap for Labor Day in Wheeling

Dozens of people participate in 18th century dancing at last year’s Fort Henry Days event at Oglebay Park. File Photo by Scott McCloskey

WHEELING — Labor Day weekend will offer a full calendar of activities, with everything from vintage raceboats to a variety of events at Oglebay Park.

Dozens of vintage hydroplane raceboats will be on display and operating at high speeds during exhibition runs on the Ohio River at the 14th Annual Wheeling Vintage Raceboat Regatta at Heritage Port.

The event begins Friday afternoon and evening, as the pit area will be open to the public at Heritage Port’s main stage area. Both Saturday and Sunday, opening ceremonies will begin at 9:45 a.m., and from about 10 a.m. until noon both days, raceboats will stage exhibition runs where drivers often go head-to-head within a few feet of one another. In addition, the event also features entertainment, special activities for children and a multitude of food vendors.

In addition to the regatta at the waterfront, Oglebay Park will be featuring Revolutionary War reenactments as part of Fort Henry Days, along with live entertainment, face painting, balloon art, inflatable rides, a woodcarvers show and a fireworks display around the park throughout the weekend.

Visitors to the 22nd Annual Fort Henry Days will have the opportunity to explore an 18th-century living-history encampment showcasing colonial and Native-American cultures as dozens of historical re-enactors portraying early settlers, military and natives set up camp and live for the weekend at Site One and Camp Russel.

In addition to experiencing 18th-century music and dancing, blacksmith demonstrations and period sewing and weaving and much more from 10 a.m. to 5p.m., both Saturday and Sunday, the highlight of the event culminates at 3 p.m. both days with an historical battle re-enactment that portrays the battle of 1782 and Betty Zane’s famous powder run, which saved the fort’s inhabitants. New demonstrations this year will include: William Smith portraying Silas Moore, who was an 18th century rat catcher, and Jon Stealey will be flying an old-time air balloon on the site at various times. The event is free to the public.

Fort Henry Living History, Inc. member Dave Perri said the event is a passion and labor of love for those involved.

“Everyone involved has a deep love and respect for Wheeling’s history, and it shows in the hard work and dedication that everyone puts into the event. Every year on Labor Day weekend, we all labor to turn a section of Oglebay Park back into the 18th century,” Perri explained.

Visitors to the park will also have the opportunity to witness the work of talented woodcarvers from across the country, as they come together to showcase their artistic creations during the 40th Annual Oglebay Woodcarver’s Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. This display and instruction event is free of charge to all visitors. Woodcarvers works will be available to purchase and each visitor will receive a free raffle ticket for a chance to win a locally produced wood carving, according to Show Chairman Clark Adams. Drawings will be once every hour during the show and the winner must be present to win.

“Music Under the Stars” with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday as the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra brings out all the stars for its 90th birthday celebration concert. Featuring local artists Hit Play and Nate Strasser, the free concert will have you on your feet with classical favorites, a world-premiere commission, pop hits throughout the decades, and a special guest appearance by the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra. Plus, John Devlin, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s ninth conductor, will lead the show in his inaugural performance. The fun kicks off at 6 p.m. with kids activities in the Formal Gardens, with a fireworks display scheduled to follow the conclusion of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra performance at 9:30 p.m.

On Monday, the Seventh Annual Drool at the Pool is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. at the Crispin Center Pool. Participants 16 or older can wade in the pool with their favorite canine that is at least 6 months old. This event provides local canines and their owners the chance to wade around in the outdoor pool during the final hours of summertime operation. A donation of $5 per dog is requested for participation and all donations benefit Oglebay Good Zoo animal care and conservation efforts. Please Oglebay Park’s website for a full list of rules for this event.


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