WHEELING – After a year-long hiatus, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra anticipates this year’s fireworks show to be bigger and better than ever, as the first July weekend event at Heritage Port kicks off in waterspout.
With American Fireworks Co. ready to provide the razzle-dazzle, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra executive director Bryan Braunlich said more food trucks, bigger fireworks, and hopefully countless smiley faces will be present to celebrate July 4th.
“I think the novelty factor is that we’ve all been estranged from each other for a year, and it’s a way for the community to ring explosively in the summer,” he said.
In addition to food and the flash, WVU Medicine and the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department will be on-site, ready to administer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Health administrator Howard Gamble previously said the goal was to reach as many people as possible who could not normally find time during normal clinic hours to get their shots.
“We were really happy that they were able to do it this year”, he said. “I think, overall, on the Symphony Orchestra side, being able to host the fireworks and the city concert is a wonderful way to bring the community together. Who doesn’t like a concert and fireworks?
American Fireworks Co. will provide the fireworks for the first time for Independence Day celebrations, although they have already provided the light show for Wheeling’s 250th celebration. The previous company, Tripwire Operations Group, no longer does fireworks, Braunlich said.
Ahead of the fourth, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra will be on tour starting Friday, starting with a performance in Clarksburg, then Cannan Valley, before returning home to Heritage Port.
The day of the party begins before noon, around 10 a.m., when food trucks and other vendors start arriving to set up shop. The stage is set up and the area is prepared, usually by mid-afternoon, when the event starts at 4 p.m.
“The concert starts at 7:30 am, and in the middle of the 1812 Overture, you will begin to hear the first booms of the celebration” said Braunlich. “Who doesn’t love to hear 1812 and Stars and Stripes Forever while the fireworks go off? “
This will be the first year for Maestro John Devlin to oversee Independence Day celebrations since his arrival two years ago.