Chamber preparing for summer of events | News, Sports, Jobs

FOLLANSBEE — Those looking to get out more this summer are invited to attend monthly events planned by the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce.

May 21 will mark the return of the chamber’s monthly Sidewalk Saturday sales and a series of free concerts at Follansbee Park will begin with the Ron Retzer Trio on May 30.

Held from 10 am to 3 pm on the third Saturday of each month, the sidewalk sales involve brick and mortar businesses along Main Street and vendors of an assortment of household items who set up booths outside.

The event was launched a few years ago to bring attention to the assortment of businesses on the street, which includes restaurants, a men’s clothing and shoe store, an antique store, and an appliance and furniture store.

This year chamber members who don’t have buildings on Main have been invited to set up booths along the street as well.

The sidewalk sales are coordinated by Monica Rotellini-Myers, owner of Moe’s on Main, a shop that sells an assortment of locally made items as well as food produced in the Amish country.

Rotellini-Myers said those who visit the city that day are encouraged to pick up a card on which the names of participating businesses and vendors are printed. Patrons who ask for each business or vendor to check off his or her name can then turn them in at Moe’s on Main for a chance to win a different gift basket each month.

Rotellini-Myers said there are plans to adopt a different theme for each month as the event proceeds into September.

Chamber President Eric Fithyan said the group’s Monthly Monday Music Madness series of free concerts also will return with a variety of musicians slated to perform from 6 pm to 8 pm on the last Monday of each month at Follansbee Park.

The first, featuring the Ron Retzer Trio, will coincide with the Memorial Day weekend opening of the park and its swimming pool.

Located behind the Bluewave Center, formerly Follansbee Middle School, the park also includes a playground and walking trail. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets.

The lineup for this year’s concerts includes the Joseph Sisters, a country trio, on June 27; popular dance band Twice as Nice, on July 25; and Pocket Change, who deliver a mix of rock, jazz and rhythm and blues, on Aug. 29.

Fithyan said chamber members have been invited to set up booths with food, information or other items, and some have made plans to offer a simple activity for children.

Following a short winter break, the chamber has been busy this year. Following a job fair in March organized with the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce and West Virginia Northern Community College, the chamber resumed monthly meetings.

Fithyan said the group will continue to meet at noon on the third Wednesday of each month at the Follansbee Community House.

Since stepping into the president’s role earlier this year, Fithyan has added business cards for the chamber with a QR card that will take smartphone users to the chamber’s website with a list of chamber members and hyperlinks to take the user to those businesses’ own websites.

He noted the chamber also uses a Facebook page, established under former president Debbie Puskarich, to announce upcoming events.

“We have new businesses pouring into the chamber, businesses from all over the Ohio Valley,” said Fithyan, who added, “Our focus is on people who want to do business in Follansbee, regardless of whether they have brick and mortar buildings here.”

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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