WELLSBURG - For a number of years Independence Day has been celebrated all week, not only July 4, in Wellsburg, and this year is no different.
Debbie Baker, who is co-chairman with Cecil Toner of the Wellsburg 4th of July Committee, said while the holiday falls in the middle of the week, the group has decided to plan activities around both weekends.
The committee also has tweaked the schedule a bit, moving the Oil Can Derby that returned last year to much acclaim to 9 a.m. July 4 while the Wendy's 5K Run-Walk, normally held then, will kick off the week on Saturday, with registration at 8 a.m.
READY TO CELEBRATE — Led by co-chairs Debbie Baker and Cecil Toner and treasurer Barbara Yoder, the Wellsburg 4th of July Committee gathered at Wellsburg’s Central Park to finalize plans for a week of events, including many contests and free concerts, to celebrate Independence Day. -- Warren Scott
The Wellsburg Garden Club has announced a community yard sale also will be held on Saturday.
The day also will include a volleyball tournament at the Crooked Dock, formerly Pier 12, at 11 a.m.; and the Wellsburg All-American Idol Contest, featuring local amateur singing talent, at 2 p.m. at Central Park.
Baker said Kelly Camarote will return to host the latter event and perform with her band, Three's Company, afterward.
The week also will include a series of free concerts at 7 p.m. at the park: Cross Creek the Band on Saturday; Easy Street on Sunday; Spinning Jenny on July 1; 40 Plus on July 2; Refugee on July 3; Twice as Nice on July 5; and the El Durays on July 6.
The festivities also will include a community picnic, with games for children and horseshoe and cornhole tournaments, at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Betty Carr Recreation Site; 3 on 3 basketball tournament for children and teens at 5 p.m. July 1 at the Betty Carr Recreation Site;
On Independence Day festivities will begin with a patriotic flag raising ceremony at 8:30 a.m. July 4 at the E. R. Nichols 1st Ward Playground. The playground is a new location for the ceremony and chosen to coincide with the Oil Can Derby, which will begin at 9 a.m. on nearby Fourth Street.
In the event of rain, the derby will be moved to the following Saturday.
There also will be games for children at 1 p.m. at the Betty Carr Recreation Site.
The Wellsburg Kiwanis Club invites area youth to decorate their bikes for the city's Independence Day Parade and to enter a contest held by the group at 6 p.m. on the town square. The parade will begin at 7 p.m. and proceed along Charles Street.
The city's fireworks display will follow at 9:30 p.m.
But the festivities will continue that week with more free concerts, a fishing tournament at 6:30 a.m. July 6 at the 12th Street boat ramp and pending sufficient interest, the Anything that Floats Race that day on the Ohio River beginning at 1 p.m. at the Crooked Dock, with registration at noon.
Baker said six groups have entered the race, which challenges participants to travel the Ohio River from the 12th Street boat ramp to the Sixth Street Wharf in their own hand-made watercraft.
Baker said the week-long slate of activities is made possible through the generosity of many local businesses and groups and the efforts of the members of the committee.
For information about the competitions, including registration forms, and the event's various sponsors, visit wellsburg4thofjuly.com or its new Facebook page at Wellsburg 4th of July, where visitors can view video footage of festivities from last year and past years.
Application forms for the Oil Can Derby can be picked up at Al's Auto Service.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)