The Mon River Valley Coalition is pleased to announce the Sustainable Marketplace for Arts, Artisans, Recreational and Trending businesses (SMAART) initiative. The River Towns are ready for business and we are offering incentives to encourage existing businesses to expand and to launch new ones. The towns bordering the Monongahela River are eager to welcome all outdoor enthusiasts as well as those visitors interested in the heritage and culture of our unique communities. There is much to see and do here in this region. To learn more, click here.
If you are interested in hearing more about SMAART and how your business can benefit, visit www.smaartbusiness.com.. Entrepreneurs: now is the time to launch that great business idea. $10,000 to three top business plans will be awarded this year. The application and all upcoming workshops can be found at www.smaartbusiness.com.
Submit a piece of Art for Public Display for Fall of 2015 through Fall of 2016 along the Rail-Trail / Riverfront in Morgantown, WV and receive a $1,500 honorarium and a showcase for your art in a growing and vibrant community in Central Appalachia. Artists are encouraged to emphasize a connection to the river through their submission. Up to four (4) pieces of art will be selected for display.
Email: email@example.com for the application.
The most fabulous riverside party of the summer is coming up soon and tickets are going fast! Join us for an evening of boats, bowties, sequins and champagne while supporting Pittsburgh’s riverfront parks. Riverlife’s Party at the Pier is the poshest picnic on the North Shore, Friday, August 28 from 7:00-11:00 pm, and you’re invited.
Washington County Agricultural Fair: Aug. 15-22
County fairs are in full swing by mid-August, and the Washington County Agricultural Fair is a must. It doesn’t get much better than this: an angel food cake contest, 4-H competitions, tractor pulls, and live music (the Bon Jovi/Journey tribute band Bon Journey plays on the 22nd). Make a weekend of it, with one day spent at the fair and another relaxing along the Mon. The nearest River Towns are Charleroi and California.
Brownsville Drive-in: Fridays thru Tuesdays
What’s summer without a trip to the drive-in? This three-screen icon shows films five nights a week (Fri.-Tues.). Movie line-ups are announced on Wednesdays on their Facebook page. Combine your double feature with a visit to Brownsville proper. There, you can try the chili dogs at Fiddle’s Confectionary and tour Nemacolin Castle (Saturdays and Sundays from noon – 5 p.m.). Also stop by the Flatiron Building (69 Market St.), which is home to both the Brownsville Heritage Center (tells the story of Americana in the heydays of coal and coke) and the Frank L. Melega Museum, a great little art museum. Call ahead to check on hours (724-785-9331).
Arts and Crafts on the Mon: Aug. 22-23
One of the Mon Valley’s best-kept secrets is the recently renovated Monongahela Aquatorium in Monongahela. The 3,700-seat outdoor auditorium sits along the Monongahela River and hosts live music and events all summer. One of these is Arts and Crafts on the Mon, taking place Aug. 22 and 23. Saturday’s event will be followed by a concert by Pittsburgh’s own Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers at 7:30 p.m.
“Chili, Tackle, Pop” in Morgantown: Aug. 22-23
Three distinct events, one great weekend! The Heat in the Hills Chili Cookoff is an International Chili Society-sanctioned event taking place Aug. 22 from noon – 5 p.m. The Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail on Aug. 22 ends with a 3:30 p.m. weigh-in at Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park. If you’re not an angler and just want to see some big catfish, round out your day with a bike ride along the paved Caperton Trail and a stop at Mountain State Brewing, which has trail-side outdoor seating. Finally, the West Virginia Popular Culture Convention (WVPOP) is the place to play in Morgantown this August, featuring everything from comics to movies to Japanese pop culture.
Sprint, Splash & Spin Triathlon: Aug. 22
Would rather be moving in Morgantown Aug. 22? Sign up for the Sprint, Splash & Spin, a beginner-friendly triathlon with 330 yards of swimming, 11 miles of cycling, and a 5 kilometer run. If you’re a Sprint, Splash, & Spin spectator (or a participant with oodles of energy) and looking for more to do, check out this great list of 25 Free Things to Do in greater Morgantown.
Farmers’ markets at their peak
Sweet corn, peaches, apples, greens, peppers, tomatoes and so much more. This is August and early September at local farmers markets. Keep your eyes peeled for farm stands and farm markets in the River Towns and throughout the Mon Valley. A few weekly markets that we know of: Charleroi, Thursdays at 3 p.m.; Monongahela, Fridays at 3 p.m.; Greensboro, Saturdays at 9 a.m.; Morgantown, Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. (and nearby Westover on Tuesdays at 3 p.m.). Enjoy!
Free Bluegrass at Prickett’s Fort State Park: Aug. 28
Part of the park’s free outdoor concert series, the August 28th show features Border Ride, a progressive bluegrass band known for its vocal harmonies and incorporating a wide range of genres. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the park’s amphitheater. The park, just north of Fairmont, is listed on the National Register of Historical Places given its origins as an 18th Century fort. A park museum is open until 4:30 p.m., and bikes can be rented until that time as well. (The Mon River Trail South connects the park to Morgantown, 18 miles.)
1st Annual Catfish Classic / “Rumble on the River”: Aug. 29
This second of the catfish tourneys being covered here is an overnight fishing classic. The whole affair gets started around 7 p.m. on the 29th, and ends with a weigh-in the next morning at 7 a.m. This is a catch and release tournament being hosted by BeeGraphix in Fredericktown. Allowable fishing spots include the bank of Ten Mile Creek, the bank of the Monongahela at Fredericktown or Rices Landing, and on the Mon by boat. Register here.
FestiFall at Friendship Hill: Sept. 19-20
If you’ve not visited the country home of early American statesman Albert Gallatin, don’t wait another minute – put FestiFall on your calendar. This annual fall event just north of Point Marion features food, crafts, and customs of the nineteenth century. This free event includes live music, reenactments, and self-guided house tours. Wear your hiking shoes and explore the 10 miles of wooded trails on the grounds of Friendship Hill National Historic Site. Haven’t had enough goodies by the time that you’re done. Head down to Point Marion and check out Apple Annie’s restaurant, famous for its home-style foods and many desserts.
Create Your Own Adventure
These events are just some of the ways you could fritter a day away in the Mon River Towns. There’s so much to do along the Mon that you’re going to need another weekend (or several). A few other options for you: The W.A. Young & Sons Machine Shop and Foundry is a hidden gem listed on the National Register of Historical Places. (Ask the guys to run some of the machines when you visit.)
Catch the early end of high school football season or see some gifted collegiate athletes perform in one of our university towns (California University of PA and West Virginia University). These are fall sports, so we’re talking football, soccer, tennis, volleyball and golf. Root, root, root for the home team!
Take a pie tour of the Mon Valley! Apple Annie’s in Point Marion is known for its dessert spread. And the Route 40 Classic Diner (near Brownsville) is equally renowned. Are there any others that should be on the unofficial pie tour of the Mon Valley? Post to our Facebook page to let us know.