Tourism in Belmont County | News, Sports, Jobs


TL Photo / ROBERT A. DEFRANK Belmont County Tourism Director Barb Ballint reported last Wednesday on the increase in tourism and interest in the county in the third quarter of the year.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Belmont County Tourism Director Barb Ballint announced good news for the third quarter of 2021 when she spoke to the Belmont County Commissioners Council on Wednesday.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, little was happening and Ballint and the agency found inventive ways to promote Belmont County. She said she had faced the opposite problem this year.

“I had a hard time preparing this report for all of you because there were so many good things that happened in Belmont County in July, August and September. I think everyone was ready to go out. Everyone was ready to participate in community fairs and community events.

She said there were several events representing the heritage and history of the area. Along the Ohio River, Shadyside hosted its Loop Festival and Martins Ferry hosted the Betty Zane Days.

In July, the agency received funding from the Ohio National Road Association, which helped make improvements to the historic courthouse milepost.

“Thanks to grants and local funding, we were able to replace the kilometer post just in front of the courthouse,” he added. she said. “It was the groundbreaking area of ​​the Ohio State Highway, the first federally funded highway in the country.”

The old marker is now located at the Belmont County Heritage Museum next door.

She said the Beast of the East baseball tournament also drew teams and many stayed in the area. In Bethesda, Epworth Park’s annual Chautauqua Days went well, as did the new Blame My Roots country music festival.

“The hills were full of people and visitors from outside the region”, Ballint said. “We have distributed over 1,000 of our brochures. … They came to other places in Belmont County.

The Belmont County Fair was also a success.

“They were lucky to have wonderful weather this year”, she said.

Most recently, the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival collected a record-breaking pumpkin and the weigh-in was viewed more than 50,000 times online, including 24,000 live.

“I would like to thank the volunteers who planned all these community events”, she said. “The uncertainty of the future, they always went ahead with their plans without knowing if these events were going to be well attended, without knowing if they were going to be able to recover their funding through the participants in the events, so I thank these people.”

The tourism board also worked with the St. Clairsville area chamber of commerce during “Second Saturdays”, when a food truck and music were featured on Main Street to promote area businesses. The Heritage Museum was open and featured a series of speakers that covered a variety of topics including the Belmont County Native Hopalong Cassidy, the Underground Railroad Museum and others.

There are other online efforts to attract new tourists to the area, such as the “Geographical visits” where people find specific places.

“Our geographic tour continues to be extremely successful in bringing visitors to Belmont County. They scour the county to find geocaches ”, she said. “We were surprised to see visitors come to the office (to collect a tour award) from San Diego, California. … They love our relaxed and unique atmosphere that we offer here in Belmont County, which is why people come here.

Many local residents also take vacations closer to home.

“I’m happy to report that we’re finally getting backyard tours. It means you go to your communities. You appreciate what we have to offer here. This is one of the benefits and one of the most, I think, that came out of the pandemic. It made us appreciate what we have here in our backyard ”, Ballint said.

Upcoming holiday events to close the year include Christmas in the village of Powhatan Point on November 13; Winterfest at Martins Ferry on December 4th; and the Victorian Mansion Museum in Barnesville will begin its Magic of Christmas tours on November 27.

Additionally, Ballint said a dozen new businesses opened in Belmont County during the pandemic.

The tourist office continues to communicate via social media platforms. You will find more information on

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