Wheeling truly comes alive with activities during the summer months. And with gas and other travel expenses on the rise, many of us are reconsidering how we will be spending our leisure time this summer. Thankfully, Wheeling and the greater Ohio Valley area have plenty of free and low-cost experiences that allow residents to celebrate summer locally.
It’s not uncommon to overhear someone grumbling about how “there’s nothing to do here,” but if you look close enough, there are several community concerts, festivals, and amenities that enhance our quality of life and keeps us connected to the community we call home. So, whether you’re planning on staying in Wheeling for the summer, or plan to make a trip to visit the Friendly City, here’s just a sampling of what you can do to make the most of your summer:
Faire May performing at a Toe Tapping Tuesday performance at Garden Park
Pictured from left to right: Shalyn Joseph, Jamie Joseph, Hanna Perry, and Marybeth Joseph took a photo together after The Joseph Sisters performed at a Waterfront Wednesday concert in 2018.
During the summer months in Wheeling, there are ample opportunities to enjoy free outdoor concerts that take place on several days throughout the week. The Toe Tappin Tuesday concerts alternate between Wheeling Park and Garden Park in Warwood from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Waterfront Wednesday concerts take place at Wheeling’s Heritage Port from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and the Sunday Funday Summer Concert Series takes place at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater at Oglebay from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you enjoy listening to some great music, you’ll definitely want to check out some of the free concerts that Wheeling is offering over the summer. You can learn more about the summer concert lineup at wheelingwv.gov/summerevents and at oglebay.com/live-music-lineup.
For outdoor adventures, Wheeling is lucky to have Oglebay right in its backyard. The Oglebay Good Zoo is home to around 50 different species of animals, 20 of which are considered to be rare or endangered. According to Oglebay’s website, “The Good Zoo is the only institution in the state of West Virginia accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.” Oglebay’s Schenk Lake at Oglebay Park provides the park’s visitors with various activities such as miniature golf, pedal boats, kayaking, bike rentals, fishing, a rock-climbing wall, an aerial course, a swimming pool, and aqua cycles. Oglebay truly has something for everyone, making it a great destination to visit this summer.
If one thing is true, it’s that Wheelingites love a good festival! Between the months of June and September, there are a variety of different festivals that are held in Wheeling over the summer. Some of these festivals include Blame My Roots Fest, the Festival of India, Ohio Valley Pride Festival, the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival, the Grecian Fest, the Heritage Music BluesFest, and the Wheeling Vintage Raceboat Regatta.
The Blame My Roots Fest is a country music festival that takes place at the Valley View Campgrounds just across the river in Belmont, Ohio from July 14 until July 16. The 2022 lineup includes Dierks Bentley, Ashley McBryde, David Lee Murphy, the James Barker Band, Luke Burkhardt, Chase Rice, Randy Houser, Priscilla Block, Levi Hummon, Frank Vieira, Niko Moon, Walker Montgomery, North to Nashville, and Gage Joseph.
The Festival of India will take place on July 16 at Heritage Port. At the festival, there will be a parade, live music, food, color, and yoga.
The Ohio Valley Pride Fest will take place from July 23 until July 24 at Heritage Port in downtown Wheeling. According to Ohio Valley Pride’s website, “This has become our signature event, and it brings together a wonderfully diverse group of people each year to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and the greater Wheeling community as a whole.”
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The Grecian Festival will take place from July 27 until July 30 at St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church in Wheeling. The festival is where local people of Greek Heritage are able to come together to share their culture with their community. If you’re interested in experiencing Grecian culture right here in your hometown at the festival you can try Grecian foods, listen to music, watch Grecian dancers perform, and you may even get the opportunity to purchase imported Greek goods in the market.
The Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival will take place from July 29 until July 31 at Heritage Port in downtown Wheeling. According to the Italian Festival’s website, it states, “The volunteer board of directors takes great pride in presenting this annual event which helps our children succeed through education while celebrating our Italian culture and heritage and creating a medium for friends and neighbors of all nationalities to meet and enjoy one another’s company.”
The Heritage Music Blues Festival will take place from August 12 until August 14 at Heritage Port. According to the festival’s website, “The Heritage Music Blues Festival began in 2001 when Bruce Wheeler envisioned a Blues music festival in a newly constructed waterfront park on the bank of the Ohio River in downtown Wheeling. The fact that Wheeling had no blues scene or even a blues club, band, or solo artist did not deter Wheeler from developing a festival. Promoted as “A Weekend of Award-Winning Blues”, the festival gets raves from coast to coast.”
For beer lovers, The Mountaineer Brew Fest will take place on August 20 at Heritage Port. This event brings together West Virginia brewers from across the state who serve up samples of the finest craft beer the state has to offer.
The Wheeling Vintage Raceboat Regatta will take place from September 2 until September 4 at Heritage Port. People who attend the festival will be able to watch hydroplanes and race boats up close. You’ll be able to watch the boats race on the Ohio River at speeds between 60 and 140 miles per hour.
One of the best parts of summer is having greater access to fresh, local produce. Making a trip to your local farmers market or purchasing a CSA share is one way to savor the flavors of summer, but you can also spend an afternoon picking your own produce! Head to Eric Freeland’s farm in Wellsburg for your chance to pick your own berries! While you’re in Wellsburg, you can stop by the Family Roots Farm, which also offers berry picking and more! You can also visit the Kilgore Fruit Farm in Bellaire, Ohio and pick fresh blueberries for $5/lb.
More Ways to Explore
If you’re looking for something fun to do this summer you don’t always have to travel out of state to find something to do because there are ways that you can have fun even in your hometown! Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration shares the official Ohio Valley Summer Events guide each year, which is a great resource for learning about events happening throughout the community. You can check it out here! The Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website also provides a comprehensive list of exciting events happening in our city! Visit WheelingCVB.com to learn more.
Don’t forget about the Wheeling Summer Bucket List Challenge! We’ve picked a variety of fun, local activities for you to try this summer. Participate in the challenge for your chance to win a prize from the Wheeling Artisan Center! Learn more in this article: