Wheeling’s Holiday Celebrations Bring In Millions Of Dollars For The Local Economy From Tourists 

Nov 16, 2023

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Christmas lights, parades, and football bring a lot of people to Wheeling and Ohio County during this magical time of year, which also helps to boost the local economy.

“The holiday season in Wheeling in Ohio County is perhaps the premiere time of the year,” said Frank O’Brien, director, of Visit Wheeling.

The Festival of Lights in Oglebay is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Along with hundreds of people attending the city’s Winter on the Plaza event, thousands will congregate around Wheeling’s Fantasy in Lights Parade.

When you have several hundred thousand people spending time in your community, they spend anywhere between $3 to $5 million while they’re here, and sometimes, it’s even more than that,” O’Brien said.

Many more will also swarm Wheeling Island Stadium for the Super Six High School Championship games.

Large crowds are drawn to Wheeling’s downtown by an increase in events and performances at WesBanco Arena and the capital theatre.

Numerous people will be dining out, lodging in hotels, and making purchases from neighborhood merchants.

And even though the city is lined with substantial construction, many people are still traveling there and managing to make ends meet.

“We have been able to actually track some of that,” O’Brien said. “I’m not going to say that the roads are not a problem — and the sidewalks being torn up is a problem — but we are finding that people are still coming, primarily to the events at the arena and Capital Theatre.”

According to O’Brien, tourism generates about $800 million in revenue for the Northern Panhandle annually.

Moreover, it’s reasonable to anticipate making close to $10 million in the county just this season.

“It’s a crucial time for tourism in our area, and I think we do it better than anybody else,” O’Brien said. As the holidays draw near, there will be plenty of opportunities to spread cheer and wealth.

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Sarmind is a Writer and an aspiring Editor who has experience in various short and long-form niches. Her academic pursuits intensely mold her industry background in content creation. She holds a Master's degree in Literature, and when not writing for professional purposes, she can be found re-reading old classics of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. She is super fond of cats and enjoys hours of doom-scrolling through memes on social media while cuddled up with a cup of desi chai. She likes to think she is an intellectual badass (colloquial: nerdy bore), and now all she needs is a sewing kit to complete the look!

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