Next Week Brings Major Dose of Holiday Spirit to Wheeling | News, Sports, Jobs


Oglebay Park’s Festival of Lights kicks off Thursday, hours after the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree makes a stop at Wheeling Park on its tour of the state. (Photo Courtesy
of Oglebay Park)

WHEELING — The second Thursday in November will be full of Christmas spirit in Wheeling. Multiple major holiday events will kick off that day, offering an unofficial open to the season.

The first event is a visit to Wheeling Park from the tree that will stand in Washington D.C. as the United States Capitol Christmas Tree. The tree, harvested from Monongalia National Forest, will come to the White Palace from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday as part of a tour that will take it all over the Mountain State.

Other stops along the way will be Elkins, Beckley, Charleston and Morgantown until the tree finally finds its home in D.C. Elkins-area sawyers Arden Cogar Jr. and Ron Polgar felled the 63-foot Norway spruce on Wednesday.

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree initiative is a 53-year tradition in which one of America’s 154 national forests provides a tree for the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season.

From the Capitol Christmas tree that day, Wheeling will kick off Festival of Lights season that night. Santa Claus will make a special stop at Oglebay Park’s Wilson Lodge at 6:15 p.m. Thursday to throw the switch on the Ohio Valley’s annual tradition, an exhibition of 100 lighted displays across the 300 acres of Oglebay Park. Wesbanco CEO Jeff Jackson will help Santa turn on the lights.

“This event is a cherished tradition for many in the region, symbolizing the joy and sense of community that define the holiday spirit,” Jackson said. “Together, we are lighting up the season and making lasting memories for families and friends throughout the Wheeling community and beyond.”

Reflections on Schenk Lake include colorful candy canes dancing around Schenk Lake and a 15-foot tall, animated globe set to music located in the middle of the lake. Other highlights include the seven-story tall Welcome Tree, Gardens of Light, and the light show at the Oglebay Institute Mansion Museum.

The Winter Carnival at Levenson Shelter offers family-friendly activities such as a synthetic ice rink, climbing wall, and Christmas tree trail. The Oglebay Good Zoo invites guests to snap a photo with Santa and experience the Rockin’ Holiday Light Show with LED lights choreographed to music on the zoo’s outdoor patio.

“Since 1985, Oglebay’s Festival of Lights has been delighting guests of all ages,” Wheeling Park Commission CEO Bob Peckenpaugh said. “We have so many favorites returning and a few new surprises we are really excited about.”

The Festival of Lights will illuminate Oglebay from dusk until midnight nightly from Thursday to Jan. 7, 2024.

Those won’t be the only holiday happenings around the area over the next couple of weeks. Here are a few more notable events:

– Santa comes to Cabela’s at The Highlands at 5 p.m. Saturday to kick off the store’s Santa’s Wonderland Experience, which runs from Saturday through Dec. 24. Marching bands, members of the Osiris Shrine Temple and mascots will be part of the celebration. Free photos with Santa will start at the store Sunday.

– Oglebay Institute’s Festival of Trees kicks off Nov. 10 with an opening reception from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Events will run through Dec. 3.The festival features decorated trees, wreaths, and garlands that can be bid on or, in some cases, purchased outright. Guests can also shot the Holiday Art Show & Sale.

– The City of Wheeling gets into the holiday spirit from 5:30-7 p.m. Nov. 15 at Winter on the Plaza at Market Plaza. Music and activities begin at 5:30 p.m., with Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott welcoming attendees at 6:15 p.m., and Santa making his grand entrance at about 6:20 p.m. The lighting of the tree will follow Santa’s arrival.

Capitol Christmas Tree Tour

Here is where people around West Virginia can catch a glimpse of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as it tours the state on its way to Washington D.C.


– 6-8 p.m. — Elkins Depot Welcome Center (315 Railroad Ave, Elkins, 26241)


– 2-4 p.m. — Summersville Arena and Conference Center (3 Armory Way, Summersville, 26651)


– 4-6 p.m. — Mitchell Chevrolet (400 8th St, Marlinton, 24954)


– 11 a.m.-1 p.m. — Tamarack Marketplace (One Tamarack Place, Beckley, 25801)

– 5-7 p.m. — WV State Capitol Complex (1716 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, 25305)


– 11 a.m.-1 p.m. — Former ACF Industries Parking Lot (3rd Avenue between 22nd and 24th streets, Huntington, 25703)


– 11 a.m.-1 p.m. — White Palace at Wheeling Park (1801 National Road)

Friday, Nov. 10

– 3-5 p.m. — 84 Lumber (3208 Earl L. Core Road, Morgantown, 26508)

Saturday, Nov. 11

– 11 a.m.-1 p.m. — Operation Welcome Home at Mylan Park (452 Mylan Park Lane, Morgantown, 26501)

– 2:30-4:30 p.m. — West Virginia University at Downtown Morgantown (243 High St, Morgantown, 26505)

Sunday, Nov. 12

– 2-4 p.m. — Swilled Dog/Raymond’s Gymnastic Center (28 Industrial Park Road, Upper Tract, 26866)

Monday, Nov. 13

– 4-6 p.m. — DavisYard (533 William Avenue, Davis, 26260)

Tuesday, Nov. 14

– 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — WV Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (301 E Main St, Romney, 26757)

Wednesday, Nov. 15

– Noon-2 p.m. — Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center (146 Buffalo Dr, Harpers Ferry, 25425)

Thursday, Nov. 16

– 4:30-6:30 p.m. — Joint Base Andrews (Base only)

Friday, Nov. 17

– Delivery to West Lawn, U.S. Capitol Building

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