Monarch butterfly populations are plummeting nationwide, and a federal petition was filed yesterday by environmental groups, urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect them under the Endangered Species Act. Good Zoo director Penny Miller said zoo staff and zoo Master Naturalists are part of a project to study the decline, and to create more milkweed habitat to support the butterflies. Good Zoo Master Naturalists study, rear, tag and release monarchs prior to their migration to Mexico for the winter; they also raise and plant several species of milkweed in home gardens, local farms, and in locations throughout Oglebay Resort including golf courses, the Good Zoo, resort gardens and at the Schrader Center.
Any area residents interested in learning more about the monarch project and many other citizen scientist projects can attend Master Naturalist classes that begin September 6, 2014. Classes cost just $6 per hour of instruction and under $400 for the entire certification program; students participate at their own pace and take up to three years to complete the program, or finish in one year. The fall classes are held at the Good Zoo or West Liberty University on Saturdays and Sundays. Fall classes include Terrestrial and Aquatic Habitats; Screech Owls; Insects; Dressing for the Outdoors in Winter, and more.
Classes can be taken in any order, and students can join the program by enrolling in any class.
Students are all nature lovers and represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds from college students, teachers, scout leaders, farmers, fisherman, to retired folks and nature photographers. “Anyone of any age or background fits into the group, you just have to be a nature lover,” said Vickie Markey-Tekely, the zoo’s curator of education.
Spring 2015 classes will include core classes by area naturalist Dr Scott Shalaway teaching WV Birds; Bill Beatty teaching Trees; Wildflowers; and Medicinal Plants. Electives taught by Good Zoo staff include WV otters; Box Turtles; Monarch Butterfly Conservation; and many more.
Master Naturalist Daniel Caron said, “The program is a fun and interesting way to learn about nature. I enjoy the program’s interactive, hands-on format. The classes teach me to see something different every time I step outside.”
Students conduct 16 hours of volunteer work on nature projects of their own choosing in order to become certified. “Our students participate in backyard bird projects, put up bluebird boxes, survey and report frog calls, raise and tag monarch butterflies, and improve their garden and property to attract wildlife,” said Penny Miller, zoo director. “Others like to help out at state or zoo wildlife events, or pass on their knowledge to children,” she said. “I enjoy teaching my grandkids and neighbors about the monarch butterflies I rear and tag,” said certified Master Naturalist Carol Saseen.
The curriculum was developed by the West Virginia Division of Wildlife to develop citizen scientists and naturalists across the state. Students from Ohio and Pennsylvania are welcome to participate also.
Those interested in learning more can visit the www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo or by calling Vickie Markey-Tekely at 304-243-4033 or Penny Miller at 304-243-4027.
Labor Day Weekend Activities at Oglebay include Symphony Performance with Fireworks and Drool in the Pool Dog Swim
An exciting Labor Day Weekend Celebration is planned at Oglebay on Saturday, August 30, Sunday, August 31 and Monday, September 1. “The most-anticipated event, Wheeling Symphony’s free performance, ‘Music Under the Stars’, will take place on Sunday,” said John Hargleroad, Director of Operations for the Wheeling Park Commission. The Wheeling Symphony’s performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and a brilliant fireworks display will take place at the amphitheater at the conclusion of the symphony.
A Labor Day weekend favorite, “Fort Henry Days”, returns to Levenson Shelter/Site One at Oglebay on Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. on both days. A battle reenactment will be held at Camp Russel at 3:00 p.m. on both days.
The Oglebay Woodcarver’s Show, another long-time favorite Labor Day event, will be held at the Pine Room on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The show features sales, demonstrations and exhibits.
Hargleroad noted that there is no admission to the Wheeling Symphony performance, Fort Henry Days and the Woodcarver’s Show, although donations are appreciated at the Woodcarver’s Show.
Inflatable rides and a rock-climbing wall will be at the Schenk Lake area on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. each day.
Daily Activity Wristbands will be available at the Good Zoo and Visitors Center all three days. The wristbands provide all day use at the Par III Golf, Good Zoo and Train Ride, Miniature Golf, Pedal Boats, Fishing, Outdoor Pool, Tennis, Glass Museum, Trolley, and the Mansion Museum. The wristbands are $16.00 each plus applicable fees and taxes. One free ride on the inflatable rides is included with the purchase of a wristband.
“The Labor Day Weekend is a great time to visit the Good Zoo and see the Dinosaur Exhibit before it goes extinct!” said Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo. This special exhibit includes life-sized dinosaurs that move and roar.
The zoo opens daily at 10:00 a.m. and admission to the zoo is $9.00 for non-member adults and $5.75 for ages 3-12. Zoo members and ages 2 and under are free.
“Drool in the Pool” at the Oglebay Outdoor pool will return this year on Monday, September 1 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. “Dogs, like humans, can enjoy the refreshing water and exercise a public pool provides and many areas across the country allow dogs to swim in a public pool after the pool season is over,” said Hargleroad. “We are excited to offer this special dog swim when the outdoor pool closes for the season on Monday at 4:00 p.m.” There is no admission to “Drool in the Pool” and all dogs participating in the swim must have proof of a current rabies vaccination, and one human, aged 16 and above, is permitted in the pool with one dog. See below for additional rules for Drool in the Pool:
- All owners must have proof of their dog’s current Rabies vaccination.
- All dogs must be current on all other vaccinations: Parvovirus (CPV), Canine distemper virus (CDV), Canine adenovirus (CAV).
- One human is permitted in the pool with one dog.
- No human swimming – wading only.
- No one under 16 may wade in the pool.
- Participants who are pregnant or have compromised immune systems may not enter the pool.
- No dogs or humans with open wounds may enter the pool.
- Activity is confined to the shallow end of the pool.
- Owners are responsible for any and all accidents and injury to their own dog.
- Vicious or aggressive dogs may be required to leave.
- Retractable leashes are not permitted.
- Dogs must be clean and brushed before entering the pool.
- Owners must pick up their dog’s waste.
- Participants must bath after the event.
Not only does The Grill at the Hamm Clubhouse at the Speidel Golf Club offer a great view overlooking the 18th green of the Jones Course, it also offers delicious sandwiches, appetizers and legal beverages with a smile.
Brandon Ernest is one of Oglebay’s dedicated staff at The Grill. Ernest has been working at the Speidel Golf Club for 12 years, and about five years ago Brandon was asked by one of the golf club managers to help out in The Grill on a particularly busy day. Brandon never left The Grill and now serves the classics, plus a few other surprises, to his loyal customers.
“I like to cook and spend my spare time experimenting in the kitchen,” said Ernest. “I love my customers and they appreciate it when I make something special for them. We have golf groups that come in from Canada every year and I am so proud when they ask for me.”
One of Brandon’s customer favorites – a fried bologna and fried egg sandwich – grew so popular that it was added to this year’s menu as the “Brandini.”
Rico Coville, Director of Golf and Skiing, said he encourages his staff to go above and beyond for each and every customer. “I appreciate Brandon’s initiative and creativity,” said Coville. “Our tremendous staff is one of the reasons golfers come back year after year,” said Coville.
“Of course, the two championship golf courses give golfers a good reason to return,” added Coville. Coville also added that both the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed course and the Arnold Palmer designed courses are in great shape for the middle of the summer.
During golf season The Grill is open daily 7 am until dusk. The Grill is also open during the Winter Festival of Lights when the Pro Shop transforms into the Christmas Shop. This year’s Festival of Lights runs November 14, 2014 through January 4, 2015.
A golf e-newsletter with golf specials and updates is sent out weekly during the season. For more information on the Speidel Golf Club and to sign up for the golf e-newsletter visit www.oglebay-resort.com/golf
The Independent Theatre Collective will be producing their inaugural Shakespeare in the Park production, Two Gentlemen of Verona on June 26, July 10 and 24, and August 7, 2014 at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater in Oglebay.
Under the direction of John E. Reilly, William Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona will anchor Oglebay’s Thursday Artist Series this summer. “Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy about the adventures of two bosom buddies, Valentine and Proteus,” said Jeremy Richter, Playwright/Composer & Director for the Independent Theatre Collective. “When Proteus falls in love with his best friend’s girlfriend, the guys find themselves between the bonds of male friendship and romance.”
Written as early as 1590-91, Two Gentlemen of Verona has been debated to be Shakespeare’s first play. The cast includes Woody Pond, Brendan Sheehan, Cassandra Hackbart, Karissa Martin, Nate Foster, Vince Marshall, Josh Fromhart, Justin Swoyer, Dana Applegate, Liz Richter and Isa Campbell.
The Independent Theatre Collective is a Wheeling-based, non-profit theatre company that has consistently produced new, original work in New York City’s Theatre District, most recently the co-written ten-minute play, Changing Game by Jeremy F Richter and Ron Scott, Jr. It is ITC’s mission to embrace, encourage and create opportunities for development and change within its physical and artistic communities through collaborative partnerships.
Additional entertainment in the Thursday Artist Series at the Oglebay amphitheater include The De’ja’vu Band on July 3, Deni Bonet on July 17, and the Beatles tribute band A Hard Day’s Night on July 31.
The amphitheater at Oglebay is also home to the Summer Sunday Entertainment Series featuring Silver Sky on June 22, Cabin Fever on June 29, Almost Famous Bluegrass on July 6, The Wally Gingers Orchestra on July 13, Dick Taddy on July 20, The Ron Retzer Trio on July 27, Rusty Wright on August 3, Roger Hoard on August 10, The Jades on August 17, and Smoke Daddy and the Crawfish on August 24. The series ends with the Wheeling Symphony’s Music Under the Stars on August 31.
All performances begin at 7:00 p.m. and are free to the public. In the event of rain the performances will be moved to an indoor facility at Oglebay. For more information please call 304-243-4010 or visit www.oglebay-resort.com/summer_ent.htm
The Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of summer activities at Oglebay and John Hargleroad, Director of Operations, says that all the Oglebay facilities will be open beginning Friday, May 23 with some special activities planned for the Memorial Day weekend.
“The always-popular inflatable rides will be at the Schenk Lake area on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Doozy the Clown will also be at the lake area all three days from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.,” said Hargleroad.
Oglebay will begin offering daily activity wristbands on Friday, May 23. The wristbands are available at the Good Zoo and Visitors Center through Labor Day and provide all day use at the Par III Golf, Good Zoo and Train Ride, Miniature Golf, Pedal Boats, Fishing, Outdoor Pool, Tennis, Glass Museum, Trolley, and the Mansion Museum. “The wristbands will also provide one admission to the inflatable rides this weekend,” reminded Hargleroad. The wristbands are $16.00 each plus applicable fees and taxes.
New this year is a United States Flag Retirement Ceremony at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 26. “The special ceremony will be conducted by American Legion Post #1 and the public is encouraged to bring US flags that are no longer serviceable to the ceremony,” said Hargleroad. The American Legion will ensure that the flags are properly disposed of with honor at a later date.
“It is interesting to note that American Legion Post #1 in Wheeling was the first American Legion Post established in the United States,” added Hargleroad. The Post was established by an act of congress in 1919.
The Memorial Day Weekend is also a great time to catch up with old friends at the Good Zoo and check out what’s new including the Dinosaur exhibit with all-new dinosaurs. “These lifelike dinosaurs are fitted with electric brains so they move and roar,” said Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo. Miller said most of the dinosaurs can be discovered in the woods near the Australian Exhibit but a couple of the dinosaurs are located in other areas of the zoo.
“The Edmontonia has claimed the top of the wetlands waterfall as his prehistoric perch for the summer and the Suchomimus is located in the Wetlands,” added Miller. For a close up view of the Edmontonia Miller suggested a train ride but the creature can be seen and heard from the Wetlands.
The zoo is also accepting entries for the third annual “Capture the Wild” photography contest. “We have had a great response to our photography contests and are looking forward to this year’s entries,” said Miller. “We’ll be awarding some great prizes!” Contest rules and entry forms are available on the zoo’s website.
Miller also added that the zoo’s Animal Encounters programs are getting more and more popular. “This program allows guests to get into animal exhibits with the keepers to help feed and train some of the zoo’s animals including the lemurs, red pandas, river otters and kangaroos.” said Miller. The encounters must be scheduled in advance by calling 304-243-4030.
The Good Zoo is open daily at 10 am. Admission is $9.00 for adults, $5.75 for ages 3-12, and ages 2 & under and members are free.
The popular Segway Tours have also returned for another season. “Join our friendly guides for an exciting tour on a high tech personal transporter,” said Hargleroad. “It’s a great way to experience the picturesque natural beauty of Oglebay.” The tours begin at Schenk Lake at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Reservations for Segway Tours can be made by calling 304-243-4090.
The Hit Play Band will present a free concert at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater on Sunday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. “This performance is the beginning of the Summer Sunday Entertainment Series featuring a different band every Sunday through Labor Day at the amphitheater,” added Hargleroad. The entire summer’s schedule is available on the Oglebay website.
“For those who want to celebrate the weekend with an all-American picnic, many beautiful picnic sites are available at Oglebay and can be reserved by calling 304-243-4010,” added Hargleroad.
The Seafood Gala is available at the Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Wilson Lodge on Friday evening and the new Chop House featuring apple-smoked Prime Rib, is offered on Saturday evening. For dining reservations call 304-243-4080.
For more information on all activities at Oglebay visit www.oglebay-resort.com.
The Oglebay Tennis Complex will be part of the nation’s biggest tennis event in May that will involve thousands of players hitting countless tennis balls, according to Jeremy McClelland, director of tennis for the Wheeling Park Commission.
The annual Tennis Across America program is sponsored by the United States Professional Tennis Association. “Tennis Across America is a perfect way to kick start getting fit and learning a new sport,” said McClelland. “Tennis is a fitness activity for the entire family. Best of all, Tennis Across America is free! Racquets will be provided for use during TAA to those who do not have them.”
Beginners and advanced players, both juniors and adults, as well as those who have never played tennis before, are invited to Oglebay on Saturday, May 17, 2014, beginning at 12:00 p.m. to participate in the nationwide event.
Activities will include adult and junior clinics, introduction to cardio tennis, and 10 and Under Tennis. Making use of all 10 clay courts at the Oglebay Resort is the goal of McClelland. “Getting people on the tennis court is my primary goal,” said McClelland. “If they are there and have fun, they will want to come back.”
According to “Youth Tennis,” “Tennis is fun for kids of all ages and levels; with a minimum risk of injury, the sport provides many social, health, and psychological benefits.”
The beginner adult and junior clinics will introduce basic components of the game: grip, forehand, backhand, volley, overhead, and serve. While beginners are assisted in getting started with the sport, experienced players will be on other courts playing points.
Cardio Tennis Cardio Tennis is a fun group activity for anyone at any playing level looking for an exciting way to burn calories and interact with others outside of the gym.
Cardio Tennis is a high energy fitness activity that combines the best features of the sport of tennis with cardiovascular exercise, delivering the ultimate, full body, calorie burning aerobic workout.
QuickStart and 10 and Under Tennis provide the chance for kids to learn tennis and have real fun doing it. These programs use racquets, balls, and courts that are sized for kids so that they enjoy the game right from the start.
“Kid-sized equipment and courts, and balls that don’t bounce over their heads, give kids the advantage they need to learn to play tennis,” said McClelland. “Age-appropriate lessons make sure that kids are successful.”
McClelland said the cooperative, no-pressure, learn-to-compete approach is key. “A play-to-learn approach emphasizes the development of motor skills and a progression to teach racquet skills. Spontaneous, creative play is incorporated with the concept of “Kids first. Tennis second.”
With various activities planned, the USPTA and McClelland hope to get the tri-state area excited about tennis: “In recent years the number of players on the courts has dropped, but programs like this give me the chance to draw people to the sport I love,” added McClelland.
Established in 1990 by the USPTA, Tennis Across America is the original, free, grassroots lesson program. For additional information, contact McClelland at the Oglebay Tennis Shop at 304-243-4040.
An all-new display of lifelike dinosaurs has arrived at the Good Zoo and will greet zoo visitors throughout the summer. “The dinosaurs are fitted with an electric brain so they move and roar,” said Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo. The dinosaurs at the Good Zoo this summer include a Stegosaurus, Edmontonia, Suchomimus, Amargasaurus and her baby and others. There is also a T-Rex that is non-robotic so visitors can sit on it and take their photo or video, but all other dinosaurs are robotic and move and roar.
Although most of the dinosaurs can be discovered in the woods near the Australian Exhibit a couple of the dinosaurs are located in other areas of the zoo.
“The Edmontonia has claimed the top of the wetlands waterfall as his prehistoric perch for the summer and the Suchomimus is located in the Wetlands,” added Miller. For a close up view of the Edmontonia Miller suggested a train ride but the creature can be seen and heard from the Wetlands.
The Stegosaurus is painted in a unique color design that was created by Jillian Davis of Bethlehem. “Jillian was the winner of our Design your own Stegosaurus Contest held earlier this year,” said Miller.
Miller said the entire zoo staff has been working with a paleontologist. “The staff is well-versed on the dinosaurs that are currently on exhibit and are prepared to pass on this information to all visitors,” said Miller. Paleontologists continue to find new dig sites and new dinosaur species, and advanced tools and new discoveries have led to new conclusions about dinosaurs. “Museums have had to change exhibits numerous times as paleontology forms a more accurate picture of dinosaurs,” said Miller.
Several special events and summer camps are planned at the Good Zoo this summer including a visit from “Dr. Dino” on July 12 and July 13. “The ‘Dr Dino’ events will allow visitors to touch real dinosaur bones and learn from an expert dinosaur hunter,” added Miller.
The zoo is currently open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission to the Good Zoo is $9.00 for adults; $5.75 for children ages 3-12; and Good Zoo members and ages 2 and under are admitted free. Lorikeet Landing and the train ride are open Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, weather permitting. The train ride is $2.25 per person and a cup of nectar to feed to the lorikeets is $1.00. Additional information on the Good Zoo can be found at www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo, including dinosaur-themed summer camps. The dinosaurs go extinct on Labor Day.
The dinosaurs are from Billings Productions, North America’s leading provider of life-size animatronic dinosaurs for zoos, museums and theme parks. According to their website at www.billingsproductions.com, the company aims to encourage discovery and create awareness of prehistoric life in both young and old by making learning fun and entertaining.
Any area residents interested in learning more about birds, trees, wildflower identification, and all manner of other nature topics can sign up now for Master Naturalist classes beginning Saturday, February 22 at the Good Zoo and scheduled through mid May. Local columnist Dr Scott Shalaway will teach WV Birds. The four hour class discusses bird biology, identification and back-yard feeding. Popular returning instructor Dr Zac Loughman from West Liberty University will also teach that day, offering General Ecology, an introductory class to the Master Naturalist program. Names and Identification will be taught March 22 by zoo director Penny Miller, instructing students how to use field guides, internet resources, keys, and other resources to identify plants and animals seen in nature. Other spring classes include Creating Backyard Habitats March 2nd by Dr Candy DeBerry, and three additional classes taught by Loughman: Terrestrial Habitats; Aquatic Habitats; and Wetlands Habitats. Local expert Bill Beatty will teach Wildflowers and Weeds, and Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines. The first elective class A Tiny Tick Made Me Sick is about avoiding everything from poison ivy rashes, to snake bite while in the woods, taught by Penny Miller.
Students can pick and choose classes at their own pace and may take up to three years to complete the program, but it is possible to finish in one year. Classes cost just $6 per hour of instruction. Classes are held at the zoo on Saturdays and Sundays and often involve walks in the woods and occasional field trips to a farm pasture, wetlands or streams. The curriculum was developed by the West Virginia Division of Wildlife to develop citizen scientists and naturalists across the state.
There are 14 required classes such as Mammals; Trees; Wildflowers; Backyard Habitat Improvement, Insects, and 10 others, and a variety of electives to choose from including Box turtles; CSI: Citizen Science Investigator; Monarch Butterflies; Nature Photography; Invasive Species, and many more. Instructors include Good Zoo staff, West Virginia Division of Wildlife biologists and area college professors. Students are all nature lovers and represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds from college students, teachers, scout leaders, farmers, fisherman, to retired folks and nature photographers.
“Anyone of any age or background fits into the group, you just have to be a nature lover,” said Vickie Markey-Tekely, the zoo’s curator of education.
Student Daniel Caron said, “The program is a fun and interesting way to learn about nature. I enjoy the program’s interactive, hands-on format. The classes teach me to see something different every time I step outside. This has helped me when working in my own backyard and everywhere I travel.”
“This is our 11th year, and many of our students participate in several backyard bird projects, put up bluebird boxes, survey and report frog calls, raise and tag monarch butterflies, and improve their garden and property to attract wildlife,” said Penny Miller, zoo director. Others like to help out at state or zoo wildlife events, or pass on their knowledge to children. “I enjoy teaching my grandkids and neighbors about the monarch butterflies I rear and tag,” said certified Master Naturalist Carol Saseen.
For dates, times, and an application please visit the Master Naturalist section at www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo or call Vickie Markey-Tekely at 304-243-4033 or Penny Miller at 304-243-4027.
Jeremy McClelland has been appointed as Director of Tennis for the Wheeling Park Commission. “We are very happy to have a tennis professional with Jeremy’s ties to the local community, plus his experience and reputation, and we share Jeremy’s excitement about the future of tennis at Oglebay and Wheeling Park,” said Doug Dalby, President and CEO for the Wheeling Park Commission. “The addition of Jeremy will greatly enhance the opportunities for the public to enjoy tennis programs at both parks.”
McClelland has 20 years of tennis experience in both training and competing including the 2011 USTA Men’s National Indoor Doubles Champion, the 2011 Gordon Biersch Classic Men’s Open Singles Champion and the 2011 John V. Schultz Men’s Open Singles and Doubles Champion. He is a five-time West Virginia Open Men’s Single Champion and three-time Men’s Double Champion. McClelland is a graduate of Wheeling Park High School and a 2012 inductee to the Wheeling Park High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He was the West Virginia AAA State Champion in 2006 in both Singles and Doubles and a member of the WV All-State Team in 2005 and 2006. McClelland was a member of the Duquesne University Tennis Team from 2006 through 2010 and was the Team Captain, MVP and First Atlantic 10 All-Conference from 2008 until his graduation in 2010. He concluded his college career with 143 wins, second most in Duquesne history.
McClelland’s training experience includes private lessons and group clinics at the Pennsylvania Tennis Academy in Wexford, PA, The Club in Monroeville, PA, and Mt. Lebanon Tennis in Mt. Lebanon, PA. He also spent three summers as an instructor at Andy Findlay’s Intense Tennis Camp.
McClelland is a member of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) and the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and he plans to build a solid junior program. “Like anything else, in tennis you need a strong base to have a successful program,” said McClelland. “Focusing on the complete development of juniors from an early age until the collegiate or professional level is essential.”
“The knowledge I have gained from playing up through the professional level and coaching up through D1 college tennis has given me the skills I need to develop all types of tennis players. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, I feel I have something to offer. Tennis is physical, mental, and a lot of other things in between, and I love sharing the knowledge I have absorbed.” McClelland said.
“I know how important a coach is in every player’s life. This is a relationship that is very fragile but can be one of the strongest bonds. I am so thankful that I had such great coaches growing up and great employers who really made me understand every aspect of this sport,” added McClelland.
McClelland will not only be adding new opportunities to the tennis program but will continue with past programs such as Ladies’ Day and Men’s Night for adults. “I am looking forward to continuing these clinics and working with adults in both competitive and drill oriented classes,” said McClelland.
Adult and junior classes will run primarily through the week. Junior classes will be held after school while Ladies’ Day and Men’s Night will be held once per week. Other junior and adult classes will be made available.
Returning to his hometown to build a program of his own is something very special to McClelland. “I am very excited to return home to help this program that was an anchor for my junior career. I have had great support from so many people in this community over the years and I am happy to be in a position to give something back to Wheeling,” said McClelland.
One of America’s largest holiday light shows, the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay in Wheeling, West Virginia, will begin November 8, 2013 and continue through January 5, 2014. This holiday tradition began in 1985 with just five light displays and landscape lighting covering about 125 acres over a three-mile drive throughout the resort. Since then, the show has grown into one of the nation’s largest light shows, covering more than three hundred acres over a six-mile drive throughout the resort. Eighty larger-than-life light displays are now part of this glowing show including the new Christmas Tree Farm display.
Five years ago, the Winter Festival of Lights entered a new “green” era with the commitment to use energy-efficient LED lights in all new displays and to begin converting all existing displays to LED.
LED lights use 85% less energy than traditional bulbs and last five times longer. “We want to ensure that the Winter Festival of Lights will be glowing for many more years!” said Caren Knoyer, marketing director. “For example, the animated Rocking Horse Display was first added to the Festival of Lights in 1992, using 85 amps of electricity with traditional light bulbs. Now that the display has been updated with vibrant LED lights and it uses just 12 amps of electricity.”
Every year new displays are added and the placement of the existing displays change to keep the show fresh. Christmas Tree Farm, one of this year’s new displays, was the winner of last year’s Festival of Lights New Idea Contest. “The winning entry was from 7th grader Madison Zoladz,” added Knoyer. “Madison said she was inspired by the number of cars she saw during the holiday season carrying Christmas trees.” This year’s other new displays are Woodpeckers and Leaping Frog, and the Oglebay Village has been expanded.
The popular Light and Music Extravaganza returns to the Good Zoo again this year. The Light and Music Extravaganza takes place nightly on the zoo patio with more than 35,500 LED lights choreographed to exciting holiday music. The zoo at Oglebay will also have their annual holiday model train display at the state’s largest O-Gauge Model Train Exhibit and holiday laser shows at the zoo’s Benedum Theater. Admission to the zoo is $9.00 for adults and $5.75 for children ages 3-12, and this admission includes the Light and Music Extravaganza on the zoo’s patio.
The Gardens of Light is located in the Oglebay hilltop and gardens area, and features 150 hanging baskets of light plus thousands of lighted flowers, trees and shrubs, combined with distinctive holiday music. Knoyer said that the best way to enjoy the Gardens of Light is to take a stroll along the brick path that leads from Carriage House Glass to the Mansion Museum.
Carriage House Glass, the first stop on the Gardens of Light tour, features a large selection of decorative glass and other collectibles. Carriage House Glass is also home to the sparkling Oglebay Institute Glass Museum featuring an extensive collection of West Virginia glass and glassblowing demonstrations. The Gardens of Light continues next door to the Visitors’ Center and the Farmhouse Sweets and Treats Shoppe. “This shop features a very large selection of chocolates, plus other candy and regionally produced food products,” said Knoyer. “Custom gift baskets are also available at Farmhouse Sweets and Treats.” Just outside the Visitors’ Center lies the magical Christmas Tree Garden. Introduced in 2003, the Christmas Tree Garden consists of 30 live trees decorated with various colored lights. Situated in the center of the Christmas Tree Garden is the Nativity Display. The life-size Nativity was designed and created by a local artist, and has been a much-loved display at the Winter Festival of Lights since 1985.
The red brick walking path leads from the Christmas Tree Garden to the Greenhouse, Palm Room and Garden Center Gift Shop, where visitors can find live holiday flowers, garden gifts and silk floral arrangements. The final stop on the Gardens of Light tour is the Mansion Museum. The Mansion is the former summer home of the Oglebay family and is elegantly decorated for the holidays.
The 271-room Wilson Lodge at Oglebay offers special overnight packages during the Winter Festival of Lights. Many changes have taken place at the lodge over the years but it is still the centerpiece of Oglebay. It is festively decorated, inside and out, and bustles with activity including children’s events, delicious holiday dining, cordial gatherings and live musical entertainment.
There is plenty to do and see at Oglebay while waiting for the lights to come on. The Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Wilson Lodge offers a popular holiday buffet nightly and the family-friendly Glass Works Grill at the lodge is open daily for lunch and dinner. The Winter Festival of Lights is also a special time at all of the Oglebay specialty shops. In addition to the Carriage House Glass, Farmhouse Sweets & Treats, Palm Room and Garden Center shops in the Gardens of Light area, the Resort Shop and West Spa Boutique at Wilson Lodge, Nature Express at the Good Zoo, and the Christmas Shop at the Speidel Golf Club are all fully stocked for the holiday season. The Christmas Shop is open only during the Festival of Lights and offers a large selection of one-of-a-kind decorations, ornaments and holiday collectibles. Gift cards are available at all shops, at the Visitors Center and online at Oglebay’s website.
The Winter Festival of Lights is viewable Sunday through Thursday until 10:00 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 11:00 p.m. There is no admission to the Festival but a per car donation is requested and is valid for the entire festival season. Visitors making a $25.00 donation will receive a DVD of the Festival of Lights and Oglebay story.
Knoyer said that visitors who prefer a guided, narrated tour through the light show, will enjoy one of the trolley tours that are offered several times each night beginning at Wilson Lodge. “We also have a new mobile app for iPhones this year,” added Knoyer. “This free app, available in the Apple App Store, has detailed information about each display and also includes photos, maps, and audio and video about the Festival of Lights.”
The Winter Festival of Lights was listed as one of the 10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US according to AOL Travel and has been featured on the Travel Channel’s “Most Extreme Christmas Celebrations.” The show is also listed on the American Bus Association’s Top International Events, was named as a top 100 event by Eventcrazy.com and was recently listed as one of the top 200 events in the country by Discover America.
Oglebay, and the Winter Festival of Lights, is located 4 miles from I-70 at Exit 2A in Wheeling, West Virginia. The resort is 60 miles from Pittsburgh via I-79 south and I-70 west; 120 miles from Columbus via I-70 east; and 150 miles from Cleveland via I-77 south and I-70 east. For more information about Oglebay and the Winter Festival of Lights, call 800-624-6988 or 304-243-4000 or visit www.oglebay-resort.com