Big Weekend in the Big Wheel

Feature photo of Wheeling Hall of Fame inductee Bob Villamagna courtesy Oglebay Institute

Wheeling is alive this weekend hosting Riverfront Movie Night, the Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff, (both free admission) – and the Wheeling Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (a ticketed dinner at WesBanco Arena.)

“The City is fortunate to have generous sponsors that help make many of our events possible,” shared Allison Skibo, Marketing and Community Relations Specialist for the city. “JPMorgan Chase and the Vineyard Church are long-standing summer event partners, and we’re pleased to announce a new partnership with Williams Lea Tag this year. With their support, we’re able to provide the community with 30 evenings of free, family-friendly entertainment each summer.”

Pending any changes due to weather, this week’s schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, May 31, at 7:00 p.m.: Waterfront Wednesdays concert, featuring Guys Without Ties
  • Friday, June 2, at 9:30 p.m.: Riverfront Movie Night, featuring Rogue One (PG-13)
  • Saturday, June 3:
    • 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.: Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff (rain or shine)
    • 5:30 p.m.: Wheeling Hall of Fame 2017 Induction Ceremony (rain or shine)

Waterfront Wednesdays

Waterfront Wednesdays is a free summer concert series hosted by the City of Wheeling and sponsored, in part, by JPMorgan Chase. On May 31, Guys Without Ties will perform rock favorites with a brass section at Wheeling Heritage Port. Upcoming bands include the Tim Ullom Band, the Joseph Sisters, and the Brighton Boys.

All concerts are listed in the 2017 Ohio Valley Summer Event Guide and will be promoted as Facebook events through, where interested attendees can receive instant updates on any changes due to weather.

Riverfront Movie Nights

Williams Lea Tag is sponsoring the city’s 2017 Riverfront Movie Nights series. The Vineyard Church will continue its partnership with the city by providing free popcorn at each event.

With their support, the City of Wheeling will host four free summer movies:

  • June 2: Rogue One (PG-13)
  • June 9: Moana (PG)
  • July 7: Sing (PG)
  • July 14: La La Land (PG-13)

Movies begin at 9:30 p.m. All four films were released in 2016 and available on DVD in 2017. Crowds are expected to range between 200 and 400 attendees at Heritage Port. Moviegoers are encouraged to arrive early and bring blankets or chairs.

The city has organized Riverfront Movie Nights for 14 years.

Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff

The 16th Annual Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff is set for Saturday, June 3, at Wheeling Heritage Port. The event features award-winning chili and entertainment by Hit Play and New Age Adenas from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Attendees can purchase tasting tickets (2 tickets for $1.00) from volunteers stationed throughout the cookoff site.

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Proceeds from the cookoff benefit the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley, and this year, the committee expects to break the $100,000 mark. In 15 years, the event has generated nearly $96,000 for the United Way.

The event welcomes chili cooks of all levels. The community has been participating more in the past several years by forming business/restaurant partnerships and hosting mini cook-offs within their organizations. Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, Wheeling Young Preservationists, and Williams Lea Tag have held their own chili tasting events to determine which chili recipe would represent them at the Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff.

Cash prizes will be awarded in a number of categories. The first prize in traditional red chili wins $2,000, while the first prize in verde, or green chili, wins $500. The winners in the salsa and homestyle categories will each win $200. The event is sanctioned by the International Chili Society, which, in part, means the first place winners in all categories will be eligible to enter the 2017 ICS World Cookoff, as well as qualify for the 2017 World Food Championships.

Commercial entries will also be represented at the Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff. The commercial category includes restaurants and businesses. Commercial entries for this year include: Vagabond Kitchen; Ye Old Alpha; Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack; Main Street Bank/TJ’s Sports Garden partnership; Eat ‘N’ Park; Oglebay Resort and Conference Center; Texas Road House; Perkins Restaurant and Bakery; Generations; and Bubba’s Burgers.

Wheeling Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The City of Wheeling Hall of Fame Board will induct nine new members on Saturday, June 3, at WesBanco Arena. Cocktail hour begins at 5:30 p.m., with dinner to follow at 6:30 p.m. With this year’s inductees, the Hall of Fame will feature 132 members.

On May 3, Hall of Fame Board Chairman Robert DeFrancis revealed this year’s class of nine inductees:

  1. Margaret Ann “Peg” Brennan: Education and Religion (1943– )
  2. J. Ross Felton: Business, Industry and Professions (1926– )
  3. Dr. John Frissell: Business, Industry and Professions (1810–1893)
  4. Betty “Snookie” Woods Nutting: Public Service (1936–  )
  5. Mollie O’Brien: Music and Fine Arts (1952–  )
  6. Charles P. Saad: Sports and Athletics (1925 – 2014)
  7. Harry S. Sands (1867–1952); Helen Turner Sands (1865–1952): Philanthropy
  8. Frederick P. Stamp, Jr.: Public Service (1934– )
  9. Robert Villamagna: Music and Fine Arts (1948– )

DeFrancis noted the Hall of Fame ceremony dinner is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased for $35.00 by contacting the WesBanco Arena box office (304.233.4470).

About the Wheeling Hall of Fame: The Wheeling Hall of Fame started in 1980. WesBanco Arena (formerly Wheeling Civic Center) houses the Hall of Fame, honoring former and present residents who attained considerable distinction in a specific field and thus brought honor to their home city. Honorees belong to one of six major categories: Music and Fine Arts; Business, Industry, and Professions; Education and Religion; Sports and Athletics; Public Service; and Philanthropy.