With another Memorial Day weekend in the books, it is safe to say that the summer has officially begun! Summertime in the Ohio Valley is always jam-packed with so many events that there isn't any time to complain of boredom. As a native of the Ohio valley, I see all of these events as a tradition, as well as long-lost friends who always finds their way back to you. I am currently in college locally, and whenever I meet fellow classmates who are not from the valley, I find myself explaining my excitement for these events and oftentimes received puzzled looks in response. It is also important to remember that there are families that have moved here because of the oil and gas industry who may not know about these events. I think it is important to welcome the outsiders to our friendly valley and introduce them into these special events that occur each and every summer. My top three favorite events that I would like to introduce to the newcomers of the valley are Jamboree in the Hills, The Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival, and the OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Charity Football Classic. All three of these events take place throughout the month of July and are very important to the citizens of the Ohio Valley. Jamboree in the Hills, also known as the ultimate country music experience, is a 4-day country music festival that takes place in Belmont, Ohio and features some of the hottest artists in country music. I myself have only attended four Jamborees and have to say that it is an experience that I will never forget. I have always been amazed that our little Ohio Valley could throw a party so big that people from all over the country and even Canada look forward to attending every year. It is also a huge time for businesses in the area, which also helps our valley succeed. If Jamboree is not your thing, my second favorite summertime tradition is going to the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival. The festival is located in downtown Wheeling, WV and kicks off the weekend of July 25th. Along with every Italian
cuisine one could imagine, there are also other festival events including live music, a firework show, and a wine and sauce competition. My most memorable event from this weekend is the OVAC Queen or Queens Pageant, which takes place on Friday the 25th at 7:00 p.m. The pageant, held at Wesbanco Arena right in the heart of the Italian festival, features a variety of different talents from each Queen who is representing her high school. I have gone every year and the turnout has been great. Even if it isn't your thing it's a great way to cool off from the heat and the contestants love the support. The 69th annual Rudy Mumley Ohio Valley tradition is the OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic is my third and final favorite Ohio Valley tradition. Growing up in the Ohio Valley anybody and everybody knows how big football is, but adding the word OVAC in front of it gives it a whole new meaning. The football classic features the area schools top football players, cheerleaders, and band members. I was lucky enough to be able to take part in the 2011 OVAC All-Starr game and I
have to say that the support from the valley is overwhelming, whether you are on the Ohio side or West Virginia side, everyone is cheering you on. This year's kick off is on July 27th at 7:15 p.m. at the Wheeling Island Stadium. Although the winters here in the valley are brutal and tempt me to move south after graduating college, reflecting on the Ohio Valley's biggest events and how many memories I have made by attending them is what will more than likely make me continue to reside here. Attending these events not only allows for memories to be made, but it also helps our valley grow and puts us on the map. So get ready, because July is right around the corner.