Minor league baseball, motorcycles, and music — what more could a person want? And you can find it all in Morgantown, W.Va., this summer.
The Mid-Atlantic boasts many minor league stadiums, but the Monongalia County Ballpark won two “Best Baseball Park” awards last year.
“It’s a great place to spend a day or an evening outside, unwinding and being entertained,” said West Virginia Black Bears general manager Matthew Drayer. “And, you can’t beat the scenic view of downtown Morgantown.”
The team plays its first home game on June 19 — the perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day in Mountaineer Country. After winning the league championship last year during its inaugural season, this Pittsburgh Pirates-affiliated team is gearing up to have another stellar year.
“We’re ready to take this momentum into year number two,” said Drayer, adding that he’s very excited to see the Pirates’ top draft picks for the team. “We’ve got a lot of fun events planned, from fireworks every Friday night to special Star Wars and Ghostbusters jersey nights.”
Family and faith festival
If you prefer an even more interactive way to get outdoors, you should start prepping now for SoulFuel WV, a faith- and family-oriented festival that, in addition to regional and national musical acts, includes the Insane Inflatables 5K obstacle race.
“It’s going to be phenomenal,” said the event’s Susan Alston Johnson of the festival that takes place July 22–24 at Mylan Park. “Participants get to race through gigantic inflatables that might include anything from a 118-foot-long slide to a 70-foot-long madhouse where they have to weave through tunnels. It’s just going to be crazy, bouncy fun.”
Insider Tip: If you’d like to participate in the Insane Inflatables race at SoulFuel WV, you have to register online; no tickets to this part of the event will be sold at the door.
The 5K is just one part of the weekend event, which was conceived by local pastors and community volunteers from the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“Everyone wanted to do something inspirational for the area,” said Alston Johnson of the festival that will include Christian musical artists Colton Dixon, Crowder, Martha Munizzi, Trip Lee, and Mary Mary. “We’re hoping to have about 10,000 people show up — when they hear about it, people tell us they’ve been praying for something like this for years.”
MountainFest brings bikers and more
Now in its 12th year, MountainFest will take place July 27–31 at Mylan Park and at satellite sites around the Morgantown area.
“There’s so much happening this year, including motorcycle stunt shows, bike builder shows, concerts, a poker run, a parade of bikes, midget wrestlers, a vendor mall, a custom bike builders’ showcase, and the Girls of Thunder model search,” said MountainFest’s Shauna Davis, who added that the festival attracts 50,000-plus people each year.
“People can choose to attend as much or as little of the event as they want by purchasing a day pass or an event pass,” she continued. “And there’s camping on-site, as well as hotels throughout the area.”
Musical headliners at MountainFest this year include Montgomery Gentry, Buckcherry, KIX, Aaron Lewis, and Ray Scott, but there’s an even bigger attraction that brings in bikers, roughly 60 percent of whom return each year.
“The riding in this area is second to none,” said Davis. “And since we’re within a six-hour ride of the majority of the nation’s population, you can even do it as a day trip, though we encourage you to stay longer. The community here welcomes bikers and visitors with open arms.”
For more information:
Morgantown Tourism: tourmorgantown.com