WEIRTON - Main Street from the intersection of Cove Road to Marland Heights Road was closed down as parade and festival goers hit the streets early on Saturday for the Fourth of July weekend celebrations in Weirton.
The annual Fourth of July parade began at 10 a.m. with the Kum family leading the way. Earlier this year, local resident Harry "Jimmy" Kum, referred to as Weirton's greatest cheerleader, died and in remembrance of him because his birthday fell on Independence Day, Weirton city council voted to name the 2011 Fourth of July Parade in his honor.
More than 60 groups marched and drove down Main Street helping to keep with the theme "Our Pride is our People."
a portion of the Fourth of July parade in Weirton, 2011
"It's been great to have so many participants sign up for this year's parade," said Parks and Recreations Program Director Kevin Elias. "Getting everyone out for this weekend has been a great experience as we continue to show that our community can still host events like this."
Immediately following the parade, the Renaissance Weirton Festival kicked off.
John Sorrenti served as the master of ceremonies for the event. He welcomed everyone to the festival and announced the entertainment along with various other activities available throughout the day including the bingo tournaments at the Greater Weirton Senior Center and other competitions for area youngsters, such as cornhole tournaments and hot shot basketball. Kurt James Fun and Games also moved equipment into the street, such as a rockin' roller and various inflatable rides for children.
The annual Fourth of July Parade featured a number of floats including one from Hancock County Savings Bank. The float featured artwork depicting various symbols of the branches of the U. S. Military as a 'salute to our troops.' -- Angelina Dickson
Among those taking part in Saturday's parade was First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union, whose representatives rode along on this holiday-inspired float. -- Craig Howell
Weirton Police Detective Gerard Spencer took his first plunge of the day as the dunk tank served as a main attraction for many attending the Weirton Renaissance Festival. Those looking to take a shot paid $1 for three throws. Proceeds from the booth will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. -- Angelina Dickson
As part of a long-time tradition of parades, children in attendance ran into the street to pick up every piece of candy distributed by those featured in the parade. -- Angelina Dickson
Crowds gathered in the streets among the various vendors during the Weirton Renaissance Festival which immediately followed the Fourth of July Parade. Food, activities and entertainment were available throughout the day and into the evening. -- Angelina Dickson
A car cruise featuring classic cars lined up between Ferguson Tire and First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union
"We were overwhelmed with vendors this year and the streets were so crowded," said festival committee chairman Gus Monezis. "I was really excited about the turnout and I think the festival has proven once again to be a major success for this community."
Another feature that typically draws a great deal of attention was the Police Dunk booth, something the Weirton Police Department participates in to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Children and adults alike lined up for an opportunity to sink a local law enforcement officer into a massive bucket of water.
"The water is cold but it's fun and it's all for a good cause," said Detective Gerard Spencer, the first to take the plunge.
Other entertainment for the day included the Martin Luther King Memorial Mass Choir, the Weirton Woman's Club, the Anthony Thomas Band, The Joseph Sisters, Ditch, The Marcels and U.S. Kids. Performances were expected to continue until around 9 p.m.
"We heard a lot of positive comments and people just came and went throughout the day with their families," said Deb Witkowski of the festival committee. "I was happy to see so many looking patriotic having a good time. I hope everyone continues to have fun throughout the rest of the weekend."
The holiday weekend will conclude with a fireworks display on Monday evening at 10 p.m. which will be launched from Weir High School.
(Dickson can be contacted at email@example.com)