We hope you agree that we usually give you a good variety of what’s going on in Wheeling every weekend. So don’t hate us for this installment, which is entirely devoted to Oglebayfest, one of our favorite events of the year.
The idea of Oglebayfest at the time of its inception might have seemed crazy and like a profit-loser. But we all know it produced an outstanding event that keeps the local community coming by the thousands and thousands and thousands, again, again, and again. People like me have traveled thousands of miles to attend. People who live five miles away rent and sell-out cabins. Oglebayfest is so beloved by Wheeling residents, they will brave any kind of weather, wait in line for an hour for a pitcher of beer, and walk up and down steep and muddy ravines.
It has its own smell. It has a holiday feel. You can see and spend time with people you care about, but life has just gotten in the way. You share in the joy of a fiddle contest with someone young, a perfect kilbasi with a grandparent, and a crisp Oktoberfest beer with a date. On Saturday the parade sets the tone as vintage tractors, farm princesses, and middle school bands march on damp and golden leaves. Everyone splits up post-parade, hitting the craft tents, dancing to German music, touching cows, judging pumpkins, jumping bouncy houses, swinging to big bands, chilling with bluegrass, smiling, hugging, eating, and drinking. Then it’s time to reconvene at the fireworks. Randy Worls has a tear in his eye as the Patriotic spirit fills Oglebay’s hills, faint screams of “Let’s Gooooooo Mountaineers” echo in the distance, and children are ready for sleep. Some of us hike down to “cabin-hop” the cabin circle. Some of us don’t want Sunday to come. Some of us can’t imagine missing Oglebayfest.
Marsh Wheeling String Band is composed of local, fairly young Weelunkers who bring old-time music and sometimes will surprise you by blending in some Nirvana or Pink Floyd. MWSB has become a Friday night Oglebayfest tradition welcoming kids to come dance and revel in the fall spirit.
There’s so much going on here that we will just let the County Fair experts lay it all out for you:
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Plan to attend the following scheduled events: Baked Goods Auctions, Square Dance, Hog Calling Contest, Fiddle Contest, Pedal Power Contest, Hitch Class Show, Rock Throwing Contest, Baby Crawling Contest, and the State Championship Pony Pull. Demonstrations will be held on Rug Braiding, Old-Fashioned Butter Making, Corn Grinding, Blacksmithing, and Quilting. Antique Farm Equipment will also be on display both days. The Quilts & Needlework can be found at Camp Russel. Community Education Outreach Clubs, West Virginia University, West Virginia Beef Producers, Ohio-Brooke County Farm Bureau, Ohio County Solid Waste Authority, Northern Panhandle Soil Conservation District, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, WV Division of Tourism, WVU Poultry Association, and the Dairy Industry, among others, will have educational exhibits on display in the Main Tent. Sheep, horses, pigs, cows, goats and other animals will be on display in the Livestock Tent. Be sure and stop by the Ohio County 4-H Club Exhibits on display in the 4-H Tent.
Hungry? The NP Stockmen’s Association will be selling Ribeye Steak Sandwiches; Ohio County 4-H Leaders’ Association will have food available at Site I in the Levenson Shelter. The NP District Holstein Club will sell ice cream at the Ice Cream Tent.
Don’t watch it at home; find the guy walking the grounds of Oglebay with headphones and a WVU quad outfit (one who wears four different WVU items at once) and ask him for the score every five minutes. Oh yeah, it’s 2015, or just watch on your phone.
Saturday 10-5 p.m.
Join all of the Germans and Steve Grkman with his “Button Box Accordian” and many lederhosens.… and get your Oktoberfest on in style.