When you think of what it means to be an American, one of the first things that comes to mind is more than likely our annual Independence Day celebrations.
They represent a chance for all of our country's residents to sit back and, well, enjoy being an American.
And, while in the Tri-State Area, at least, it is becoming more difficult to find an actual community fireworks display being set off on July 4, that doesn't mean we have lost our love of fireworks and everything that goes with them. In fact, with a little careful planning, area residents will be able to take in two, three or four fireworks displays in the coming couple of weeks without too much trouble.
Our area's celebration of Independence Day begins Saturday, when the annual Thunder in the Ville event completes its two-day run at Treasure Island Marketplace in Wintersville with fireworks.
Next Sunday will see the third-annual Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Stars and Stripes Concert and Festival. The day will feature activities in the parking lot of Hollywood City Center, the Harding practice facility and Harding Stadium itself. In just three years, the event, which is presented by Hollywood City Center, has become one of the most anticipated days of the summer season.
In addition to a day of family friendly activities at the practice field and a beer garden, the event features a concert in the stadium and concludes with the city's annual fireworks display. Nationally known recording star and songwriter Phil Vassar is the headliner for the show, which will feature local favorite the Joseph Sisters and the Todd Jones Band.
Tickets to the show are reasonable - if you buy your tickets in advance, reserved seats are $20 and general admission tickets are $15. For those who wait until the day of the show, reserved seats are $25 and general admission tickets are $20.
If you're looking for more information about the concert and festival, you're invited to visit our website and click on the Stars and Stripes Festival and Concert button. There you'll find a video interview staff writer and blogger Paul Giannamore and I did with Sue Hershey, president of the chamber of commerce, and Dominic Teramana of Hollywood City Center.
During the presentation, Teramana explained that the day offers an opportunity for members of our community to come together and enjoy themselves. He also reminded everyone that Hollywood City Center and Harding Stadium are excellent locations for residents of Steubenville - and the Tri-State Area, for that matter - to gather and enjoy the fireworks.
If you aren't tired of fireworks after that show, you'll have a couple of more opportunities. For example, fireworks are scheduled to follow the July 5 appearance of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra at the Weirton Event Center. And, Toronto and Weirton are scheduled to present their annual fireworks at dusk on July 6.
Events such as Thunder in the Ville, the Stars and Stripes Festival and Concert, Toronto's Gem City Day and Renaissance Weirton's annual Summerfest are important to our area.
They, like the many other fairs and festivals that will be held in communities across our region, provide a chance for residents to relax and enjoy themselves and take their minds off the concerns we face every day.
They represent a chance to celebrate the good things our area has to offer, and an opportunity to enjoy being Americans.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is the executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)