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Harding Stadium to be transformed

Facility being readied for Stars and Stripes concert

June 26, 2011
By JESS LOOMAN - Staff Writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - The transformation of Harding Stadium from a football palace to a concert venue will begin Friday when area workers build the stage that will be used for the July 3 Stars and Stripes Concert presented by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and WTOV-TV.

Area residents will notice that Harding Stadium will look slightly different when they arrive for the concert that day. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with local country act Joe Zelek taking the stage at 5 p.m. Josh Thompson will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. and headliner Little Big Town will cap off the performance at 8 p.m.

The concert will be held rain or shine.

Article Photos

PLANNING?FOR?SHOW — Michael McVey, left, Steubenville City Schools superintendent; John Cucarese, middle, a member of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce board of directors; and Steubenville City Schools Building and Grounds Director Mike Bauman, building and grounds director for the school district, met recently at Harding Stadium to discuss what they need to do to create the venue for July 3’s Stars and Stripes Concert. — Jess Looman

The Zambelli fireworks show is scheduled to begin at 9:45 p.m.

Area residents will notice that Harding Stadium will look slightly different for the event.

"We will bring in a 32 by 48 stage with a roof for the event," said John Cucarese, a member of the chamber's board of directors. "Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 246 will be helping to construct the stage on Friday. We will begin construction around 1 p.m. and it is expected to take a few hours.

"We will back trailers into the east end of the stadium, under the scoreboard and onto the field and that is how we will begin construction," he explained. "We will have to protect the drainage system under the turf so we will be placing plywood on the field to help distribute weight. We will also place plywood under the stage and heavy equipment."

Cucarese said Saturday will be spent adding the finishing touches, including on elaborate sound and lighting system used at many stadium shows throughout the country.

"We will have to set up the lighting and the sound system Saturday as well as the generators for energy," he said.

The bands will bring in their own electronics and instruments, but Cucarese said the chamber is responsible for the stage.

Seats are still available and range in price from $15 for end stadium seating; $20 for middle stadium seating; $25 field seating; and $60 VIP tickets for two, which include a reception and parking as well as seating close to the stage.

"The VIP tickets are reserved for chamber members only," he remarked. "We are hoping to see about 5,000 people gather for the show.

"The stage will be taken down immediately following the concert so IBEW members have also agreed to be here at 11 p.m. Sunday to help with that," Cucarese added.

Cucarese also explained that concert-goers will receive a color-coded wristband before entering the stadium which will coordinate with each specific seating area.

"We are working this concert as festival seating, so you will not have a specific seat number or row," he said. "Basically, the wristband will show you which section you are in and from there it is first-come, first-served with seating."

Other major partners for the concert and festival include the city, Steubenville City Schools, Hollywood City Center, TEAM Automotive Group, Chesapeake Energy and the Kroger Co. Gold sponsors are Apollo, the Fort Steuben Mall, WesBanco, the Herald-Star, Choice Brands, Iron City Distributing and Labatts Beer. Silver sponsors are New York Life, John Cucarese, Iron City Distributing, Mike's Hard Lemonade and Health Plan. Bronze sponsors are Kwik King, Riley Petroleum, Jefferson Security and EM-Media.

"We want to thank the IBEW and its workers as well as Steubenville City Schools for the use of the field," Cucarese relayed. "This also couldn't have been made possible without the other headlining sponsors, WTOV-TV. We also want to thank the city and Jefferson Security, which will provide a police presence for parking and security inside and outside of the stadium."

"We are really glad to be partnering with the chamber for this event," said Michael McVey, Steubenville City Schools Superintendent. "It is a great community event."

The concert and fireworks will cap two days of activities as the city marks Independence Day. The Steuben Striders will hold a meet at the Harding practice facility on Saturday.

Activities set for July 3 include free swimming at Belleview Park and the annual senior citizens luncheon at the JFK Apartment complex. Both events will begin at noon.

Many other activities are planned for Hollywood City Center area July 3. A classic car show will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Harding parking lot, while a family fun zone will be open from noon to 4 p.m. at the practice field. Food vendors will be set up in the practice field area from noon to 10 p.m., with a DJ and karaoke from noon to 5 p.m. WOGH-FM will be broadcasting live from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the practice field, and a beer corral will be open from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Kroger parking lot.

Residents who don't purchase a ticket to the concert will be able to view the fireworks display from the practice field.

Tickets for the concert and stadium seating for the fireworks show are available at all Kwik King stores (except East Liverpool), the chamber of commerce office at 620 Market St. and through

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