Oglebayfest celebrates the 90th anniversary of Oglebay Park.


This fall, celebrate the 90th anniversary of the inception of Oglebay Park—the only self-supporting public municipal park in the country—with a trip to Oglebayfest. What was once celebrated as Wheeling’s homecoming has become one of the largest events around, as Oglebay’s 2,000 acres come alive with the largest arts festival in the greater Wheeling area, a popular German-style beer garden, and lively entertainment.

This year’s Oglebayfest is scheduled for October 5–7. The Phil Maxwell Artists’ and Gourmet Markets will open the festival at noon on Friday with regional artwork, crafts, and food. Tents filled with a range of photography, painting, glass, mixed media, pottery, textiles, and food—all handcrafted from tri-state-area vendors—line the lawn behind the historic Oglebay Institute Mansion Museum. Regional wine, fresh-popped kettle corn, candy apples, and food truck fare round out the offerings.

Saturday starts with the Oglebayfest parade and ends with fireworks over Schenk Lake. The Rathskeller, located at Hess Shelter, is one of Oglebayfest’s most popular destinations. This German-style beer garden offers dozens of brews for you to sip while enjoying live music. The Wagon Shed, next to Hess Shelter, also offers German inspired food service. If German food doesn’t float your boat, then visit the Oglebay Garden Bistro or the Ihlenfeld Dining Room in Wilson Lodge. The Ihlendfeld offers delicious buffets and special menus. Friday’s seafood buffet has become a tradition unto itself.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Ohio County Country Fair will take place at Oglebay’s Levenson Shelter with 4-H exhibits, farm animals, quilts, and homegrown produce. You can watch butter be churned, listen to hogs being called, and craft your own scarecrows.

Make it a long weekend and book a room at Wilson Lodge, which recently expanded to 258 rooms. In addition to the fun and festivities that Oglebayfest brings, the resort offers activities for everyone, from rounds of golf and relaxing at the spa to petting animals at the Good Zoo and taking leisurely strolls around the lake.

So mark your calendar—that Wheeling feeling awaits.

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Nikki Bowman
Written by Nikki Bowman
Nikki Bowman, a West Virginia native, is the founder and owner of New South Media, Inc., which publishes the critically acclaimed WV Living, WV Weddings, West Virginia Focus, Explore, and Morgantown magazines. In January 2015, her company also took over the editorial and design of Wonderful West Virginia magazine. She graduated from West Virginia University and received her master’s degree in Writing from DePaul University in Chicago.