WHEELING – Food, music and a celebration of Italian culture are all on the agenda at this year’s Upper Ohio Undo Valley Italian Heritage Festival in Wheeling.
The festival is scheduled for July 29-31 on Water Street at Wheeling Heritage Port. The festival begins at noon on July 29 with an inauguration ceremony and continues into the afternoon of July 31.
Festival coordinator Janice Whipkey said new to the festival this year will be a classic car show from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
“We wanted to make Sunday a family day. It’s something a family can do together. she said of attending the car show.
In addition to live entertainment, there will also be inflatables and bouncy castles for children. The Roots In Booth will also be set up and can provide people with information about their Italian heritage and where their family comes from in Italy.
Whipkey added that the festival committee is still working to bring the Little Italy region back from the festival.
The festival continues to be a tradition for many residents of the Ohio Valley.
“It’s really been a fun weekend. Lots of people come from out of town and get together as families. That makes for a happy weekend,” she says.
Whipkey noted the festival’s kick-off dinner – at which Italian American of the Year, Anthony “Herk” Sparachane, will be honored – is set for 6 p.m. on the Wednesday before the festival at Undo’s West, St. Clairsville. Dinner reservations can be made by calling the festival office at 304-233-1090.
Many artists will be present on stage during the three days of the festival.
Friday entertainment includes:
Robert “Momentum” Dodrill singing from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.;
The over-40 group is scheduled to play from 3-4 p.m.;
WTRF 7 will be broadcast live from the site from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.;
The Avanti Band is scheduled to entertain with Italian tunes from 5-6:30 p.m.;
Eli & The Mojo Kings will play from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.; and
The evening will be completed by Ray Massa’s Big Italian Show starting at 9 p.m.
Saturday entertainment will include:
A Veteran Appreciation Ceremony from 11 a.m. to noon;
Bob Gaudio will sing and play guitar from 1:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.;
Bobby Pizzoferrato will host from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.;
The Rex Taneri Orchestra will play from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.;
Ohio Valley folk dancers will wow crowds from 6-6:30 p.m.;
Amici is fixed from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.;
Lights Out Big Show-Beach Boys will play from 9:15-10:45 p.m.; and
A fireworks display will end the evening at 10:45 p.m.
Sunday entertainment includes:
A Catholic mass is held from 10 to 11 a.m.;
Sorelle Di Bacco will play from 11:15 a.m. to noon;
A car show starts at noon;
Ohio Valley folk dancers will dance from 1 to 1:45 p.m.; and
Pocket Change will be the last artist of the festival, playing from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The festival’s annual pétanque tournament is also scheduled, starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday. There will be 32 teams allowed. Registration fees are $120 per team. Fees include beer, four T-shirts, four two-day wristbands, and four raffle tickets.
To participate, go to www.italyfest.org.