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Little Italy Comes to Wheeling on July 22-24

WHEELING — The Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival will once again heat up Wheeling’s Heritage Port on July 22-24.

The annual festival will bring the sights, sounds and tastes of Italy to the Friendly City as vendors line Water Street and the port grounds.

The festival opens at noon on Friday, July 22, and continues until 11 p.m. with free live music and song on two stages on the festival grounds.

Saturday’s action starts at 11 a.m. and includes a military veterans’ appreciation ceremony,  scholarship awards and the evening fireworks display.

Sunday will feature the traditional outdoor Roman Catholic mass in the morning, as well as a performance by the OVAC All-Star Marching Band.

Vendors and food stands will be available.

This year the festival will posthumously recognize Joe Ripoly at the 2016 Italian-American of the Year.

Ripoly died last month at the age of 76.

In addition to the food, dancing, music, crafts and kiddie amusements, the festival serves as fundraiser for scholarships doled out to more than a dozen local high school seniors heading off to higher         education.

Festival Chairman Ron Castelluci said the scholarships are a driving force behind the popular event each year.

Scholars awarded scholarships this year include Madeline Marks and Katie Castellucci of Brooke High School, Nicole Virtue and Rachel Dziewatkoski of Steubenville Catholic Central High School, Mia Edmundson, Isaiah Selmon-Miller and Troy Salatino of Wheeling Park High School, Kirsten Devine of West Virginia Northern Community College, Natalie Cervelli and Maria Ducci of Bellaire St. John Central High School, Nicole Lewis of Wheeling Central Catholic High School, Ryan Moffo of Buckeye Local High School, Stephanie Pennacchio of Weir High School and Justin Bowers of Shadyside High School.

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