WHEELING - The Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival is celebrating its 30th year in 2012 and there will be no shortage of music, food and fun to mark the occasion.
The festival is slated July 27-29 at Wheeling's Heritage Port. Chairman Bob Gaudio said the event this year, much like every other year, will offer a variety of entertainment on two stages: the Heritage Port Stage and the Cultural Area Italian Stage located in the Little Italy section of Water Street.
A few musical acts he is especially looking forward to include the Jaggerz at 5 p.m. Friday; the Italian tenor Elio Saccio at 7 p.m. Friday; the Joseph Sisters at 2:30 p.m. Saturday; and jazz guitarist Joe Negri at 1:45 p.m. Sunday.
Italian Festival fans pack Water Street in downtown Wheeling. The festival is slated July 27-29 at Wheeling’s Heritage Port.
File photo by Scott McCloskey
''We also have a novelty act - Matt Schafer. He's a one-man accordion band,'' Gaudio said of the musician slated for 1 p.m. Saturday.
Gaudio said about 100 vendors will line Water Street. And the Little Italy area also will have food and beverages in addition to its entertainment stage.
''We try to mix it up a little bit,'' he noted. ''We're the granddaddy of Italian festivals and we try to live up to it year after year.''
This year's Italian American of the Year is Robert Contraguerro, owner of Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration in Wheeling. During a recent dinner naming him, Contraguerro said the honor was special, as both sets of his grandparents came to the United States from Naples, Italy.