Wheeling set to celebrate 125 years with parade, concert
Wheeling residents can help celebrate village's 125th anniversary with parade, concert
Residents of Wheeling have a lot to celebrate these days -- and not just because of the anticipated opening of its new $110 million Wheeling Town Center this fall.
On Sunday, June 23, families will gather for a historic 125th anniversary of the village, with a festive parade and free concert to follow.
What started out as a farm community and an overnight stop for travelers making their way to Wisconsin, led to a village known for its industry and commerce and now-famous restaurant row.
Elements of its rich history will be on full display in the village-sponsored parade, which steps off at 4 p.m. along Dundee Road, from Northgate Parkway to Wolf Road. Organizers expect nearly 50 units to participate in the parade, which should last between a half-hour and an hour from start to finish.
Village President Patrick Horcher and the board of trustees will lead the parade. For Horcher, celebrating the village's anniversary is a personal milestone.
The Horcher family was among the first to settle within the village, with his ancestors purchasing the Horcher farm, which has operated continuously since 1848, 46 years prior to the village's incorporation.
"The community celebrations planned for this anniversary year are all great opportunities to take note of the layers of history all around us," Horcher says, "and to remember that the Wheeling of the future has always been built on the efforts of the past."
Entries in the parade will reflect the vitality of the community, with units of students from Wheeling High School and Wheeling Elementary District 21, as well as groups from area churches and synagogues, the Knights of Columbus and local organizations, including the Wheeling Garden Club and the Wheeling Historical Society.
Immediately following the parade, residents can make their way over to the Wheeling Park District's outdoor Performance Pavilion at Heritage Park.
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the band EagleMania will take the stage. As its name suggests, the band is an Eagles tribute band that plays all of the group's greatest hits, as well as songs by Eagles band members Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh.
Ironically, the anniversary celebration will take place near the site of the upcoming Wheeling Town Center. The mixed-use development will feature more than 300 residential apartments, as well as a luxury cinema and full-service restaurant along with other retail sites.
Horcher sees the innovative development is just another example of how the community has transformed itself over the last 125 years -- with taverns along Milwaukee Road giving way to restaurant row, and farmlands replaced by single-family homes and thriving manufacturers.
"Another transformation is underway now," Horcher says, "as transit-oriented, mixed-use development reshapes the area around the Metra station."
During the parade, Dundee Road will be closed from Northgate to Wolf. Parking will be available near the route at the village hall, the Wheeling Police Department, St. Joseph the Worker Church and the Wheeling Park District.