The 15th Annual YSS Celebrate Youth Festival is a beloved tradition where everything is free, from school supplies, community resources, food, games, inflatables and all park activities.

This year the event returned to in-person, after two years of being done as a drive-through during COVID.

“We saw a lot of smiling faces,” said YSS Digital Media Communications Coordinator Tucker Riggleman. “There was a huge turnout. There was a big line before it opened. Everybody was really excited.”

On the Wheeling Park ice rink, 50 booths had giveaways, food, backpacks and prizes.

“I won a fishing pole at the booth over there,” said Tyzhalique McGhee. “And I’m going to go fishing with it.”

Buster the Bus was teaching safety to kids who will soon head off to school.

“We go over the danger zones with all the students,” said Jessica Schunk, transportation aide. “The learn to stay away from the wheels, and the back and front of the bus.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office had materials about other types of safety.

“We want to spread the message on how to keep your kids safe from things like fentanyl and vaping, and how to keep your kids safe online,” said Stacy Bishop.

Kids posed for pictures with their favorite superheroes.

And they tried their hand at hockey at the Wheeling Nailers’ booth.

“This gives the kids the opportunity to try hockey out, and then obviously we’re only about two months away from our season starting so it’s a great way to lead right into the excitement of our year,” said D.J. Abisalih, Voice of the Nailers.

“There’s food here and a bunch of games and I just like that there’s a bunch of people here having a good time,” said Bentley Newland of Wheeling.

And wristbands got everyone a free pass for the day for the pool, mini golf, paddleboats and bounce houses.