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Difference in a year

This week showed us once again that a year can make a big difference in the life of just about everyone.

Most of the restrictions that had been put in place as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted, meaning that we at long last were free to get back to doing the things we enjoy doing.

And that sets up what most certainly will be a busy month and, most likely, help to set things up for an interesting rest of the year.

We were able to gather, once again, on Memorial Day to help remember the ultimate sacrifices made by the men and women who have represented us in the military during the years. We also were able to gather Sunday at the Berkman Amphitheater at Historic Fort Steuben for the first concert of the season, and are able to anticipate watching live music there on Thursdays between now and the end of July.

In addition to those events which have become area staples, there was the start of a new event — Wednesdays in Wintersville — which organizers hope will bring life to village streets on the first Wednesdays of each month.

Farmers markets are making their returns, with the Brooke County event getting under way last week. The weekly farmers market presented by the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District will return on June 16 at a new home — the parking lot at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Wintersville. Scheduled to open from 4:30 pm. to 6:30 p.m., the market will run through Sept. 29. Also making a return later this month will be the farmers market in downtown Steubenville.

Weekly concerts have returned to the Weirton Event Center on Friday evenings, offering Tri-State Area residents another opportunity to enjoy live music in an outdoor setting.

Last year, there was little opportunity to enjoy all that comes along with county fairs, with Ohio’s events limited to just the activities associated with the junior fairs. That’s different this year, with just about all of the traditional trappings planned at fairs this year. In our region, the Harrison County Fair will run June 21 through June 26; the Carroll County Fair will run from July 19 through July 25 and the Jefferson County Fair will run from Aug. 15 through Aug. 22.

That’s a lot of events scheduled between now and the end of the month, and the list does not even include the return of what has come to be the busiest week of the year in downtown Steubenville.

Back this year will the Grecian Food Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and the Dean Martin Hometown Celebration.

The Greek food festival, which will be in its 35th year, returns to the area outside of the church, which is located at the corner of Fourth and South streets. It will run from June 23 through June 25, which means it will dovetail with the Dean Martin event, which will be held June 24 through June 26.

This year’s tribute to the King of the Cocktail Cool era will open June 24, with a special presentation by Beatlemania Magic at the Berkman Amphitheater and the yearly Dean Martin karaoke contest at the Spot Bar. Martin tribute shows are scheduled for the Spot Bar on June 25 and June 26, with a street party set for the 200 block of South Fourth Street on June 25 and a full day of music and activities planned along South Fourth Street on June 26.

It’s a far different picture than what we saw last year, when we were running a daily list of activities that had been canceled as the pandemic worsened around us. That list seemed to grow every day, as greater numbers of event organizers had to face the sad situation that restrictions meant their events could not go on.

Our businesses in the Steubenville area are coming back to full strength and our region is able to offer a full slate of events and activities. It’s time to get back out and enjoy them.

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

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