WEIRTON - It was a celebration of America and the community in Weirton Saturday as crowds scrambled downtown for the annual Independence Day parade and the Renaissance Weirton Summerfest.
The parade kicked off the day's festivities, with a variety of marching bands, dance schools and local businesses taking part, traveling down Main Street displaying their American pride with costumes and floats covered in red, white and blue.
A variety of games, food and performances were on hand at the Weirton Event Center as part of the Summerfest.
Weirton's festivities Saturday kicked off with the annual holiday parade, featuring area businesses, dance schools, civic clubs and school bands traveling down Main Street. Among those participating was First Choice America credit union, which entered this float. -- Craig Howell
Weirton native Josh Knotts showcased several of his illusions as part of a magic show during the Summerfest activities. Knotts, and his wife, Lea, welcomed several area residents onto the stage to help out with some of the tricks. -- Craig Howell
A variety of games and entertainment was available for the kids during the festival, which was located this year at the Weirton Event Center. Several food and merchandise vendors also were on hand throughout the afternoon. -- Craig Howell
Festival organizer Gus Monezis explained he always likes to highlight entertainment from around the Ohio Valley for the event.
"I've always gone for local groups," Monezis said.
Among the local musical acts performing Saturday afternoon were Spinning Jenny, the Donahues and Legend.
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Also performing was Weirton native Josh Knotts, who along with his wife Lea, performed several magic tricks, illusions and escapes, incorporating comedy and audience interaction. Knotts has performed in 27 states and six countries
At one point, Knotts brought up Weirton magician Jim Tate, known locally as "The Magic Man," and explained seeing Tate's shows as a kid was what inspired him to get into the field.
His big finish involved escaping from two straight jackets.
"I got my first straight jacket when I was 16 years old," Knotts said before performing the escape while dancing around the stage.
A live animal show also was available from the Wild World of Animals in Eighty Four, Pa., featuring animals such as an alligator snapping turtle, Harris hawk, red fox and a leopard.
The day's festivities concluded with a fireworks show set off behind Municipal Plaza.
(Howell can be contacted at email@example.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)