Concert season nears

Thoughts on an Easter morning:

The warmer temperatures and sunny days we’ve been experiencing in the Tri-State Area serve as reminders that we’re going to be spending a lot more time outdoors during the coming weeks and months.

Another hint came in a story we ran in our April 6 edition that detailed the lineup for this year’s Concerts at the Gazebo series in Toronto.

Residents of communities throughout the region enjoy gathering with friends and neighbors throughout the summer to enjoy live music in an outdoor setting. Each area series features a variety of music and performers, which makes every week a fresh experience.

It seems like you’re able to find a place in the Tri-State Area where you can enjoy an outdoor concert on just about every night of the week.

For example, Concerts in Toronto, which are held at the city’s gazebo at the corner of North Third and Market streets, will take place on Wednesday nights beginning July 3. There’s one exception — that’s when the weekly concert moves to Aug. 29 to accommodate the high school’s all-class reunion.

On Thursdays, the attention shifts to the Berkman Amphitheater at the corner of South Third and Market streets in Steubenville for the Fort Steuben Concert Series. After a special Memorial Day event, presentations shift to their traditional Thursday night slot beginning May 30. The series continues through Aug. 1, weather permitting, and will feature a special Independence Day celebration, which will conclude with the city’s annual fireworks extravaganza.

Friday nights are concert nights at the Weirton Event Center at 3322 East St., with this year’s series starting May 24 and running through Aug. 23. Included will be the annual presentation by the Wheeling Symphony on July 5.

Many other communities in our area also are planning outdoor music events.

And while the size and number of people who attend the concerts varies, there are come common factors that make each series successful. First, each is run by volunteers, people who have been working behind the scenes since last fall to put together the lineups. They are the same people who will staff the venues the evenings of the concerts and will work well into the nights cleaning and doing other chores.

Second, each series happens only with the support of area businesses and individuals, whose contributions make it possible for the evenings to be enjoyed with no admission charge.

Our region’s outdoor concert season is almost here. Enjoy the music — and don’t forget to thank everyone who makes it possible.

¯ Today is Easter Sunday, the day Christians around the world gather to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It’s no surprise, then, that it is the most popular day of the year for church attendance, according to WalletHub, the Washington, D.C.-based personal finance Website. It’s followed by Christmas Eve and Mother’s Day.

The holiday survey shows that 70 percent of Americans identity themselves as Christians and that 49 percent plan to attend a church service today.

Like other holidays, there’s a lot of money involved. The survey says there will be $18.1 billion spent on Easter, with $5.7 billion spent on food, $3.3 billion on clothing, $2.9 billion on gifts and $2.5 billion on candy. And when it comes to candy, chocolate is the most popular Easter basket item, appearing in 92 percent of the collections. If your basket contains a chocolate bunny, and you eat its ears first, you will be among the 59 percent of Americans who enjoy their rabbits in the same way.

We also like to color eggs. The numbers show that there are 180 million eggs purchased for Easter and that more than 10 million dye kits have been purchased.

Some interesting numbers to think about as we reflect today and look forward to the longer days of late spring and summer.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)