Families Invited to Celebrate Youth at Wheeling Park

Celebrate Youth — a family tradition that began in 2008 — this year is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2.

Wheeling Park will be hosting Youth Services System’s 11th annual Celebrate Youth event, a free and family-friendly day. Held at the park’s skating rink, the event goes on rain or shine.

Face painting is a must for many at Celebrate Youth.

Celebrate Youth will showcase performances by local youth. Also at the event, youth and families will have the opportunity to meet with representatives for more information on the various resources available to them in the area. These include West Liberty University, training programs offered by Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Wheeling Fire and Police Departments, the Wheeling Nailers, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Some groups, such as the IMPACT Coalition and the YWCA Family Violence Prevention Program, talk about positive skills to lead a happy life. Others, such as Head Start and the Northern Panhandle Parents as Teachers, offer parents advice and support.

“One goal is to show parents and kids that there are resources to help them be healthy and happy in our community, all of which want them to do well. The second goal is for everyone to enjoy the day,” said John Moses, Youth Services Systems CEO.

Utilizing Wheeling Park's indoor skating rink, the Wheeling Nailers give participants a chance to play hockey.
Utilizing Wheeling Park’s indoor skating rink, the Wheeling Nailers give participants a chance to test their hockey skills.

Celebrate Youth is entering its second decade of bringing families from across the Ohio Valley to Wheeling Park. In the past 10 years, over 45,000 people have come to this event, which features 60 or more exhibitors with activities and information, inflatables and performances by youth.

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This year, the youth performers include:

  • Gabrielle Marshall, an artist, poet and musician from East Wheeling whose musical influences include gypsy jazz, indie music and folk-punk.
  • Stevie Lynn, a popular performer throughout the Ohio Valley who is returning to Celebrate Youth. She has won numerous competitions and performed at The Capital Theatre, the Strand Theater, Lincoln Theater and the Victoria Theater.
  • Abiga Smith, who lives in Wheeling with her two parents, two sisters, two dogs and two cats. She is kicking off her career in stand-up comedy.
  • Gage Joseph, a 14-year-old freshman from Shadyside High School, who has been singing for a couple of years. He performs classic and modern country and southern rock covers.
Gabrielle Marshall and Abiga Smith are among the youth performing on Aug. 2.

Wheeling Park partners with Youth Services System on this event, opening the park’s many attractions to those attending. Other major sponsors include 1800GAMBLER, WV Problem Gambler Network, the Cornerstone Group, Glessner & Associates, and the Marshall County and the Ohio County Commissions. Additional support comes from Aetna Better Health for West Virginia, C.A. House Music, Comcast, Domino’s, Lamar Advertising, Northwood Health System and US Foods.

The Good Zoo at Oglebay is one of the exhibitors at Celebrate Youth.