A special week in town

It’s probably a pretty safe bet to say that residents of our area anticipate few weeks on the calendar any more than this one.

It’s festival week in Steubenville, a chance to get out and enjoy being outdoors. It’s an opportunity to renew our late spring traditions while participating in events that bring people from all parts of the Tri-State Area, the rest of the country and even other parts of the world to town. Each of the events has a flavor of its own, but they all give us a little time to enjoy what’s good about our community while we take a moment to look back at the past.

There’s already been a lot going on downtown. Last weekend, Ohio Valley Frontier Days returned to Historic Fort Steuben. The two-day event offered area residents a chance to see what life in our area was like more than 200 years ago, while, as organizers remind us each year, mixing history with fun.

A couple of other events also have been bringing people to town. First Fridays on Fourth, for example, continues to grow in popularity. The monthly gatherings truly do feature something for just about everyone, from various types of live music and offerings from local craft brewers for adults to plenty of fun activities for children to enjoy.

And, while the weather has not been exceptionally kind to the Fort Steuben Concert Series, the opening event on Memorial Day attracted a nice crowd that should continue to grow as the weekly events continue at the Berkman Amphitheater.

Those events have helped set the stage for this week.

The busiest week of the year begins Tuesday, when the Holy Trinity Greek Festival gets under way at the corner of South and Fourth streets. This year represents the 33rd-annual rendition of the four-day event, which offers those who attend the chance to enjoy authentic Greek food, appreciate traditional Greek music, take a tour of the historic church and enjoy time in the company of friends and family.

Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the festival is a testament to the members of the church, many of whom have been working since February or earlier, making food, coordinating volunteers and scheduling entertainment, all to ensure the event, the church’s largest fundraiser, remains a quality experience.

Beginning Thursday, fans of the Rat Pack and the era of Cocktail Cool will gather in Steubenville to celebrate the life of Dean Martin. This week’s concert at the Berkman Amphitheater will carry that theme, with the Vince Villanova Band performing at 7 p.m. and Bob Morelli’s Dean Martin tribute show set for 8 p.m.

Later Thursday, the Martin action shifts to the Spot Bar on Fourth Street for the annual Dean Martin karaoke contest. On Friday and Saturday nights, Martin festival shows will feature Morelli as Martin, Dave Salara as Frank Sinatra and Chris Denem as Neil Diamond. The Frank Gallo band will perform Saturday afternoon.

Downtown will really come alive Saturday with the Dean Martin Hometown Celebration. Activities will be spread across the areas of Third and Fourth streets and will include the Dino Dash 5K and the Martin Meander Fun Run. There will be a car cruise, open houses at the Grand Theater and the Jefferson County Historical Museum, games and activities for children, trolley rides, a ’50s-themed dance on Fourth Street that’s scheduled for 7 p.m. and three free concerts in the Berkman Amphitheater: Flashback at 4:30 p.m., the Joe Scalissi Dean Martin Tribute at 5:45 p.m. and Beatlemania Magic at 7 p.m.

It’s a week many area residents look forward to for a large part of the year. It’s a chance to celebrate our heritage, eat some great food, remember the life of a native son who’s considered to be one of the greatest entertainers of all time and just sit back and relax with friends old and new, all the time enjoying the things that make our region a special place to live.

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

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