by Savannah Wade
Streets in downtown Marietta closed the evening of August 7 to allow about 30 food and craft vendors to set up for the 41st Annual Ohio River Sternwheel Festival. The festival takes place every year to encourage tourism in the Marietta area, as well as preserve Marietta’s riverboat heritage.
The festival is always held the weekend after Labor Day. All events are free and the atmosphere is festive and friendly. Attendance has grown tremendously over the years attracting around 100,000 people.
In addition to the 30 to 35 authentic sternwheel boats that line the river bank, some of the festival’s events include: the Little Miss and Mr. Sternwheel Pageant, Rollin’ Oldies Car Show, boat races, music with national entertainers the and Harry J Robinson fireworks display. The fireworks are the best display in the area.
The Ohio River Sternwheel Festival has been voted the “Best Festival” by the Marietta Times for three years in a row.