Celebrate Youth Festival brings thousands to summer’s biggest bash

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WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – It’s the beginning of August, which means soon parents will be getting ready to send their kids back to the classroom. 

But before that, Youth Services System gave them one final summertime bash.

The 12th annual Celebrate Youth Festival is a day that has just about everything you could think of to promote family fun. 

“It’s the perfect time for the community to give back to our kids, give them a celebration before they go back to school,” said YSS Director of Development Tammy Kruse. “Some people have an opportunity to go on vacation as a family vacation and some people don’t, so this is an opportunity for anybody who wants to come out to the park.”  

Smiles spread across faces as the Wheeling Park Ice Rink was packed. Everything from community resources to free giveaways had kids taking advantage of anything they could possibly want. 

“I remembered when I spin the wheel of fortune. It’s so fun,” said Noah who will be in the 2nd grade. “I spin it all the way to orange and guess what? I just took a beach ball.” 

“The school bus going around, the bouncy castles and uh the face painting,” added 4th grade student Owen when asked about the day.

“I got all the free stuff and we’re about to get food,” said 2nd grader Weston.

Even parents enjoy the festival.

“I love that they fund this and do this for the kids every year,” said Destiny who was there with her daughter Raelynn. “It’s very enjoyable.” 

After checking out the festival, families could enjoy all that Wheeling Park has to offer at no cost. 

“Go to miniature golf, see all the exhibitors, do the paddle boats,” Kruse explained. “Whatever it is that Wheeling Park has to offer is absolutely free today.”

Even though it’s not quite the end of summer, kids are ready to be back in the classroom. 

“Science and band where I can play the trumpet,” said 5th grade student Jeffery about his favorite subjects. ” 

Organizers were thrilled at how the Celebrate Youth Festival has grown, saying they expected up to 6,000 people.

“It’s been fantastic to watch it over the years,” Kruse continued. “From just a handful of people.”  

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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