WHEELING - Things are about to get busier in Wheeling.
"It's amazing that, for a city of 28,000 people, we have four solid months of festivals, concerts and outdoor events," said Allison Skibo, marketing and community relations specialist for the city of Wheeling.
In the upcoming weeks, people can look forward to new events as well as some old favorites.
Presented by the Arts & Cultural Commission, this year’s Wheeling Arts Fest will showcase Squonk Opera’s Pneumatica show on June 21.
Main city events include Waterfront Wednesdays at Wheeling Heritage Port - this year's featured performers include The Honky Tonk Sweethearts and Steel Cassa, among others; Toe Tappin' Tuesdays at Garden Park, where attendees can enjoy everything from traditional country to light rock; and Toe Tappin' Tuesdays TOO at Wheeling Park featuring acoustic Americana bluegrass "plunk rock" and Pittsburgh's classic oldies.
All events are free and begin at 7 p.m. The Toe Tappin' and Toe Tappin' TOO events alternate by week.
There are also four free riverfront movie nights scheduled for the summer. While there have been five in the past, a packed schedule is leaving open event spaces limited.
"That's a great problem to have ... we have so many events happening during the summer," Skibo said, adding the Vineyard Church provides free popcorn to movie attendees.
Music buffs, car fans, foodies and wine and beer connoisseurs can all find an activity to their liking.
Part of First Fridays, concerts at Party on the Patio have grown in popularity. This year's event is scheduled June 6. Another classic, the Heritage Port Car Show on July 6, has attracted locals and out-of-towners alike for over a decade.
The Wheeling Feeling Chili Cook-Off, set for June 7, features a new homestyle category allowing for less-ridged competition.
Following West Virginia Day on June 20, the Wheeling Arts Fest is in its fourth year. Presented by the Arts & Cultural Commission, the June 21 event will showcase Squonk Opera's Pneumatica show. As Pneumatica's world premiere is in Pittsburgh one week before the Arts Fest, Wheeling will be only the second location for the interactive outdoor musical show. An arts after-fest with business owners at Centre Market provides attendees an opportunity to enjoy more entertainment while supporting local artists.
New events include scavenger race Challenge Wheeling presented by Carpet Showcase Flooring Center on June 21 to benefit Youth Services System; the Augusta Levy Color Me Au-some 5k color run on June 14; and Mountaineer Brewfest on August 16, showcasing West Virginia's diverse entries in the craft and microbrew market.
Skibo finds it encouraging that there are so many people who want to see Wheeling succeed and are not jaded by the idea that the city is dead.
"People aren't just saying what they want to see ... they're making it happen," Skibo said about committees forming and groups working together. She added that JPMorgan Chase & Co. has always been a huge support of city events.