Ohio Valley Frontier Days, the annual festival at Historic Fort Steuben, will return June 3rd and 4th to recreate early American life. The event will feature reenactors who portray soldiers, surveyors, and settlers to demonstrate how people lived in the days before electricity, cars, and computers.

“Over the years our goal has been to make our history interesting, relevant, and inspiring and I believe the festival is the perfect way to do that,” said Judy Bratten, director. “The festival is a chance to learn new things while enjoying the music, crafts, and food that are offered. We are grateful to the Walmart Distribution Center for being a sponsor and for their support of the Fort programs over the years.”

Historic Fort Steuben, a reconstructed fort on its original site overlooking the Ohio River, invites visitors to meet the blacksmith, the candlemaker, the flintknapper, and the broom maker. They can tour the Officers’ Quarters, the Enlisted Men’s Quarters, the Commissary, the Quartermaster’s Store, and the Hospital as well as take in the panoramic view from the upper level of the Guard House. Artisans will offer their crafts for sale from leatherworks to woodcrafts to jewelry. Frontier Dan will guide participants in the Tomahawk Toss while members of the 1st American Regiment teach the skills of shooting a musket.

The fort was originally built to protect the surveyors of the Northwest Territory in 1786 and members of the Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio will be on hand to teach the history and the use of the chain and compass. Visitors can meet the archaeologists from Franciscan University of Steubenville and explore the ongoing dig on the site.

Period music with traditional instruments will be presented by Rich & Kathy Small on Saturday and on Sunday by Bill Schilling and by award-winning singer/songwriter Steve Free. Representatives of the Sons of the American Revolution will be stationed nearby.

Author and artist Alan Fitzpatrick will have his original art for sale on Sunday while Gary Beckley will be selling and signing copies of his new book, “Oh! Susannah.” More books, toys, and gifts will be found in the Museum Shop in the Visitor Center.

“We also are raffling off a beautiful handmade quilt made by local artisan Karen Nicholson,” Bratten added. “The drawing will be held on Sunday, after the festival. There will be a scavenger hunt for the kids, too, with a chance to win a prize.”

Bratten noted that food vendors, crafters, and other retail booths will be set up in the Fort and in Fort Steuben Park. Admission to the Fort will be $7/adults, $3/youth 6-12, and under 6 free. There are also special family rates. For more information call 740.283.1787.

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Steubenville Celebrates Native Son

“Everybody loves somebody sometime,” and Steubenville loves native son and classic crooner Dean Martin. The city will host a celebration of his career and music on June 17th and 18th with performances by tribute artists, a Dino 5K, a classic car cruise-in, and a parade.

The event kicks off on Thursday evening with a Karaoke Contest at the Spot Bar which has held this contest for years. On Friday evening, Joe Scalissi – a national Dean Martin tribute performer – will join his surprise guests at the Spot Bar for an evening of memorable music.

But the real excitement starts on Saturday with a variety of events opening with the Dino Dash 5K Trail Run/Walk at 8:00 am in the city’s historic Beatty Park. Winners of the race will be awarded their prizes after the parade by performer Scalissi as Dean Martin.

The Dean Martin/Rat Pack Parade will process down Fourth Street at noon with TV personality Lou Martini as the Grand Marshal. Units have been asked to decorate or dress in the Dean Martin theme.

Immediately following the parade, classic cars will be lining up on S. 4th Street for admiring strollers with DJ Kevin Dennis by the Grand Theater. The Grand is the last of the five theaters that once dominated the downtown and is currently undergoing extensive renovations. The lobby will be open where the Steubenville Art Association will have a themed show and art sale and tours of the theater will be offered for donations.

The Steubenville Trolley will run from 1pm to 3pm around the downtown and its famous murals. An onboard tour guide will give the stories behind the murals and the tales of Dean Martin’s time in the city for a $5 donation. 

Visitors are encouraged to stop at the Steubenville Visitor Center at 120 S. 3rd Street throughout the day until 4pm where a special video produced by longtime Dean Martin fan Tina Baker will be running. Entitled “Sweet Memories of Steubenville,” the film includes dozens of clips from Martin’s many movies and TV shows where he mentions his hometown. They include scenes with Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Perry Como and even former mayor Andy Miller. This video can only be seen in Steubenville at the Visitor Center and later during the Rat Pack Dinner Show. The Visitor Center will have a Steubenville History and Dean Martin Display as well. Those who love history can tour Historic Fort Steuben at a special reduced rate that day.

The event climaxes with a nationally acclaimed Rat Pack Dinner Show with Joe Scalissi as Dean Martin with Bryan Duprey as Frank Sinatra, David Hayes as Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jamey Duprey as Marilyn Monroe at Froehlich’s Classic Corner at 5:00pm. Tickets for this Dean Martin Festival 2023 Rat Pack Dinner Show are $35 and can be purchased online at EventBrite.com or in person at the Visitor Center.

For more information on this event and lodging, dining, and other attractions go to www.VisitSteubenville.com.

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May Events in Steubenville & Jefferson County

Here are some of the great things coming up in May!

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2023 Annual Spring Quilt Show at the Fort

“Trip Around the World,” “Starburst,” “Irish Chain,” and “Sweet Liberty” are just a few of the themes on display at the Annual Spring Quilt Show at the Visitor Center at Historic Fort Steuben that will run from April 10 to 22nd.

“Over thirty quilters from Ohio and West Virginia have submitted their creations for the exhibit,” explained Judy Bratten, Director of Historic Fort Steuben. “We are always amazed at the variety of the designs and the creativity of their makers.

“You can say that history is captured in these quilts. Over the centuries people have used what was available to make coverings or artistic expressions. In ancient Japan, heavily quilted fabric was used as armor. During the Great Depression, quilts – as well as dresses and shirts – were made from feed sacks. In modern times, fabrics were developed specifically for quilters with patterns and designs, colors and textures that could be adapted to favorite themes.”

There will be 46 quilts in this year’s show reflecting a variety of techniques as well as designs. Some are hand quilted and pieced while others are machine worked. Both men and women are participating in the show reminding visitors that quilting is a skill not limited to sex or age.

“Some people think of quilting as a hobby for grandmas when actually it is an art that is available to anyone,” Bratten noted. “In the past, quilting often was a group project since the quilting frame is large and needs lots of space. It also served as an opportunity for socializing, sharing local news and gossip. Church women would create quilts to send off with missionaries to other countries. That still is happening, but with modern technology and the wide availability of supplies individuals can make quilts at their leisure at home.”

Visitors can vote for their favorite quilt at $1/vote. They can also purchase a $5 raffle ticket for a beautiful quilt made by local artist Karen Nicholson; the raffle will run until June 4th.

The exhibit will be open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm and is free to the public. Historic Fort Steuben is located at 120 S. 3rd Street in Steubenville, Ohio. For more information call 740.283.1787.

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Steubenville Art Association Presents “Celebrate Steubenville Today”

Original works of art by over 20 artists from the tri-state area depicting landscapes, architecture, and familiar sights in Steubenville will be on display at the Historic Fort Steuben Visitor Center from March 4 through March 25.

The exhibit, “Celebrate Steubenville Today”, will present unique perspectives in various media of places throughout the city. The pieces will be judged and awarded prizes, and many will be available to purchase.

Entrants include established artists, newcomers, and high schoolers who will be eligible to win prizes in a high school division.

The exhibit is free and open from Monday through Saturday from 10 to 4, Sunday from 11 to 4.

The opening and awards reception will be held March 4 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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Franciscan University Accounting Students to Assist Local Residents with Taxes

Students continue 35-year tradition of offering local residents free taxpayer assistance.

Participating in the Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), accounting students from Franciscan University of Steubenville will offer tax preparation and e-filing assistance free of charge to Ohio Valley residents.

From Tuesday, February 14, 2023, to Saturday, April 15, 2023, students will be available five days per week at the Fort Steuben Mall near center court in the main entrance corridor (former location of Claire’s Boutique). All participating students have completed an individual income tax course and have passed a series of IRS training courses and exams. Free federal and state tax preparation is available to taxpayers with less than $60,000 of total income.

The hours of operation are Mondays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays from Noon to 6:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Assistance will be unavailable between March 11-19 and April 6-9.

Franciscan University students can prepare form 1040; Schedules 1, 2, and 3; Schedules A, B, and D, as well as forms for calculating child and childcare credits, education credits, and earned-income credits. In addition, students can prepare Ohio tax returns for full-year residents. Taxpayers who purchased health insurance through an exchange and received federal subsidies reported on form 1095-A are not eligible for assistance at the site, nor are taxpayers who receive a 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC. Local tax return preparation is not available.

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With the beginning of 2023, we are looking forward to another year filled with fun and interesting events around Steubenville and Jefferson County.

Many annual and much-loved events will be returning, such as, Toronto’s Campbell-Dickinson 5K and St. Baldwick’s Shave-Off in March; the Steubenville Art Association’s Spring Art Show at Fort Steuben Visitor Center in March;  the Annual Spring Quilt Show at Fort Steuben Visitor Center in April; the Great Steubenville Eggsibition Art Display in April.

In addition, moving forward into the summer months:  First Fridays on Fourth; First Wednesdays in Wintersville; the Berkman Summer Concert Series; the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Golf Classic; Ohio Valley Frontier Days, the Greek Food Festival; Dean Martin Festival and local farmers’ markets.

Mid-summer brings various Fourth of July celebrations, the Mt. Pleasant Annual Home & Garden Tour, and the Jefferson County Fair.

Following in the fall, is Labor Day weekend’s Annual Toronto Festival and the Friendship Cluster Dog Show.  Also in the fall, exhibits at Historic Fort Steuben including “Celebrate the Constitution”; and the Pleasant Hill School House Historical Museum Annual Octoberfest.  Rounding out the year is the Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Christmas at the Fort. 

Additionally, there are many other events hosted by Beatty Park, Steubenville Cultural Trust, the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County, and numerous other organizations and local communities.

Follow this website’s events calendar for details on these and other events throughout the year.

Don’t miss out on any of the fun, stay informed!  And HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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The Lights at Steubenville’s Nutcracker Village

When the organizers of Historic Fort Steuben and the creative artisans at Nelson’s of Steubenville came up with a holiday event to display life-sized nutcrackers as a way to reinvigorate the downtown and boost the morale of the citizens of Steubenville, they were stumped at first on how to illuminate the unique creations. For the first year, there were only about 35 nutcrackers arrayed in Fort Steuben Park and lit up by floodlights on extension cords staked all around the grounds. “It was a real concern that someone would trip over them,” explained Jerry Barilla, president of Historic Fort Steuben. “And we didn’t know how and if people would respond to this new event.”

But not only did people respond positively, they loved the nutcrackers and brought friends and relatives downtown to see them.

“We had older visitors in tears: they hadn’t seen crowds swarm the downtown in years,” Barilla said. “So we knew we had a hit and we needed a better way to display them.”

He started looking at methods to light up the area, particularly using hoops to hold the lights above the walkways and discussed the problem with M&M Hardware Store owner, Scott Campbell.

“Hey, what’s my name,” said Campbell.

“Scott?” responded Barilla.

“No, Santa Claus,” Campbell answered.

He had the hoops and a local greenhouse had some, too. Volunteers came to install the lights on each of the hoops. Then another local business stepped up to provide sound: Drew Hindman of World Radio Telecommunications wired speakers along the hoops to a CD player to ensure that holiday music would be playing. The local electricians’ union offered time and expertise to expand the electrical system to handle the improvements. By the second year, the Steubenville Nutcracker VillageTM had become a dazzling display with over 70 nutcrackers, colorful lights, and joyful music – a true community effort. Now in its eighth year with 200 nutcrackers, the event has spread throughout the downtown area bringing light and hope to the community and all who visit.

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