The Ohio Valley, and more specifically the Steubenville area, is in full festival mode.
This coming week brings the Hometown Celebration, a mix of festivals and celebrations that bring our area to the forefront.
A part of that celebration is the annual tribute to Steubenville's favorite son, Dean Martin, and festivities are planned Thursday through Saturday in the city, more specifically at the Spot Bar. Activities will include a Dean Martin Karaoke Party and Dino Singing Contest, as well as entertainers such as Italian singer Mirella Volpe, Rich Treglia and Russ Loniello and the Frank Gallo Italian Band.
Dino enthusiasts also should be interested in the Dean Martin Hometown Celebration Day planned Saturday and will include sightseeing, recollecting, prayer, eating and entertainment at various sites throughout the city.
Tours of the Dean Martin Room at the Jefferson County Historical Museum on Franklin Avenue will be offered during the day. A 10:30 a.m. Mass is set to remember Dean Martin at the Holy Name Cathedral, and free hot dogs and drinks will be available at the Hollywood Shopping Plaza along with memorabilia sales from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. And the Rat Pack concert, featuring a 13-piece orchestra and Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra impersonators, is set from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Steubenville High School.
There is a $5 admission donation that will benefit the performing arts programs at local high schools.
The Hometown Celebration also includes the very popular Grecian Food Festival presented by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, which runs this year runs Tuesday through Friday.
So many families, thankfully, through the years have continued their ethnic traditions by passing them on to younger generations, and this week one of the area's best known customs carries on.
Long a favorite among area residents, the Greek festival will offer authentic Grecian food. Area residents are anxiously waiting for a taste of favorites such as moussaka, spanakopita, gyros and grape leaves, as well as baklava, diples and raisin cookies.
After filling up, festival-goers can loosen their belts and take in some unique and colorful Grecian dancing.
This festival has much meaning to the many Holy Trinity church members and Greek families who work many months in advance, and the delicious food is prepared by the experienced hands of many wonderful cooks year after year.
Don't forget the city's gem, Historic Fort Steuben, which will host Local History Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. A "meet the authors" event is planned at the fort's visitors center, and the day in general "is a chance to highlight the history of Steubenville and some of the famous people who have lived here," one area official said. There's also the popular Ohio Valley Frontier Days at the fort on June 23-24. It will be two days of soldiers, settlers, surveyors and American Indians from more than 200 years ago, and guests also can view crafts, food, games and music, according to organizers.
Area residents and visitors in town this week also will want to make note of the city's farmers' market, which begins its season Thursday on south Third Street. Homegrown vegetables and fruit will be featured, as well as some crafts and homemade breads and pastries, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Thursday through October.
And eyeing the near future, we're reminding festival-goers of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce's second-annual Stars and Stripes Concert slated for July 1 at Harding Stadium.
Of course, the concert will be followed by the city's annual fireworks display above Hollywood City Center.
This great array of festivals provides entertainment for area residents and an economic boost to area businesses, so we're hoping area residents and visitors alike will find the time to participate.