Wheeling Arts Fest

Jun 23, 2014

Did your town have a giant, wacky, blue figure in the middle of the street with amazing music being played around it?  No?  Bummer…because mine did.  And it was awesome.  Squonk Opera’s Pneumatica show was crazy.

The music, the visuals, the crowd.  I’ve never seen anything like it.


I’m mildly embarrassed to admit that this was the first time I’d gone to the Wheeling Arts Fest.  I really don’t know why we’d missed previous years but I know that I’ll never miss it again.  Even though the weather was rainy, hot and muggy as all hell…it was still an amazing time.  And I feel like I only got to see a tiny piece of it!

The second we arrived, #thebenyo (otherwise known as the AMAZING Josh Benyo) directed Louis and me to the children’s art area.  And we basically stayed there the entire time.  As if Louis would let me leave.  There was face painting, “junk” crafts, diy instruments and ice sculptures.  Hello Louis heaven!


I’m going to take a moment to gush about our friends.  Bennett and I have been in Wheeling for 7(?) years now and the beginning few were rough.  We hardly knew anyone and had a hard time finding like-minded people.  Fast forward a few years, and I can’t believe we’d ever felt that way.  We’ve somehow been lucky enough to enter into a group of friends that are giving, hilarious, sweet, kind and incredibly driven people. 

And probably my favorite part of this fantastic group of people is how great they are with Louis.  They treat him like he’s their friend too.  We take Louis everywhere with us and no one ever seems to mind or think we are crazy…especially when he’s often the only child there.  My heart bursts every time I see someone interact with him like they do.  They love Louis and are so sweet with him.  Basically what I’m trying to say is that my friends are the coolest/best people ever. 



Louis got really excited to see the face painting station.  Mainly because he’d lost his chance at the Woodsdale Elementary Carnival a while back and has wanted to be painted up since then.  There was no hesitation with our kiddo, he knew what he wanted before he even came close to sitting his tush in that seat: a Ninja Turtle. 

And not just any turtle.  The blue one.  Leonardo.  HIs favorite.


Bennett and I opted out of getting our faces painted.  Obviously I would have been Donatello.  Because.  Purple.  (Which I’ve discovered is everyone’s least favorite?  For shame!)

What Bennett and I both did was wear shirts of our own art to the Arts Fest.  Couples who nerd together, stay together?  Is that a thing?  Bennett even brought his camera along so he could take some alley photos if anyone was interested.  We were a couple of blocks away from “the” alley and I do believe some took advantage of his offer.


(And here is where I randomly throw in a picture of two of my favorite guys.  The Vagabond Chef and #thebenyo  Two of Wheeling’s finest.)


We were actually there long enough on Saturday to catch both of the Squonk shows.  Louis thought the first round was “too loud” but he excitedly sat through the second viewing.  I was glad that I got a chance to see it too.  Weirdest and coolest music I’ve ever experienced.  Hands down.


I’m super sold on the Arts Fest.  No worries Wheeling.  The McKinleys will be there next year.



  1. Meghan Hayes

    Nerding together is definitely a thing. Like when we decide to watch all the star wars movies in a weekend, just because we can. These festivals don't stop! Goodness! I know Athens has several, but they're always crawling with crunchy hipster college kids. That I cannot stand. Louis will be the coolest 12 year old ever and all his high school grads will think back and be like "That Louis kid always knew what's up."

  2. Katy McKinley

    Wheeling has some newer/younger blood in the City Manager's office and they've really made summers in the city so much fun. There is seriously something every night and weekend all summer long. It's the best.

    I feel ya on the college kids thing. I used to be one of "them". And now they drive me a little bonkers. 🙂

  3. OTandET

    Ack! You guys are so cute.


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Welcome to Wild+Wanderful!  I’m Katy.
Momma. Wife. West Virginian.
Dreamer. Coffee Consumer.
Craft Beer Enthusiast.
Purple Obsessor. Lover of Handmade.



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