One of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year in Wheeling, the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival, is slated for this weekend. Opening ceremonies are at noon Friday at the Heritage Port.
Our Ohio Valley is proof positive of America's tradition as a melting pot of cultures. Northern Panhandle and East Ohio residents revel in that, with a variety of events celebrating our varied ancestries.
Perhaps the most popular - and certainly one of the largest - celebrations is the Italian Heritage Festival. Live music and other entertainment and plenty of great food abound at the festival.
While the event revolves around traditions ranging from bocce to wine making, its organizers look to the future, too. During its more than three decades, the festival has handed out scholarships to scores of deserving young people. This year, 14 students will receive $1,000 each.
And the festival honors leaders who have done much for our communities, through the annual Italian-American of the Year awards. This year's co-recipients are Gilda Reed and Dr. John DeBlasis.
Dozens of volunteers work hard every year to make the festival and its associated programs successful. Assuming the weather cooperates, this year's event should be a great one.
Congratulations, then, to all involved in the 31st annual Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival.