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Kiss Off of Summer

September 19, 2011 - Heather Ziegler
Saturday afternoon at Wheeling Heritage Port, a nice size crowd attended the Sternwheel Festival. In the afternoon there were lots of families with young kids there. The events were geared toward families as was the entertainment. If you wanted to watch a motorcycle rodeo or a guy making balloon shapes it was there. They had food vendors and an interesting collection of other vendors who sold everything from crafts to candles. Tom Burgoyne kept a watchful eye on things and greeted the crowd. More boats than I've seen in a long time docked at the port alongside the sternwheelers for whom the festival is named. By evening, the crowd had swelled to more than a thousand. I don't think anyone expected that big of a crowd. It seems the Kiss Tribute Band, Dressed to Kill, was a huge draw for people of all ages. The band mimics the popular Kiss band with its high-energy rocking stage show and trademark face paint and costumes. It was incredible how many people with little kids and baby boomers stuck around after the fireworks to hear and see the band. If there was any trouble, I haven't heard much about it. And this morning (Monday) the heritage port is nearly as clean as before the concert began. Hats off to the city crews who clean up after such events. Preserving the beauty of the port is important. Sadly as fall approaches, the festivals at the port are over. There are a few more events -- such at the American Heart Walk this Saturday at the port and a few more in October and then the Veterans' Race in November. There are plenty of other festivals across the valley coming up including the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival this weekend, Oglebayfest and the Wellsburg Applefest, both on Oct. 7-9. It would be nice of those two festivals could be held on separate weekends. Seems there it would benefit both.


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