Harmar Days organizers pleased by turnout
MARIETTA – A sunny Sunday afternoon brought hundreds to the final day of the 2013 Harmar Days Street Festival, with organizers and vendors alike saying all three days of this year’s event were well-attended.
The festival kicked off Friday evening and ran all day Saturday and Sunday, wrapping up with the Harmar Days Classic Car Show on Fort Street.
“We’ve had a great turnout, and this has been the driest festival in Marietta so far this year,” said organizer Chuck Swaney, noting that other local events have been rained out due to July’s stormy weather.
In addition to a larger crowd, there were more vendors along Maple Street for the 2013 street festival, selling a variety of wares and food items, from lemonade shakes and funnel cakes to quilts, artwork and jewelry, he said.
“It’s been wonderful. We were here last year, too, but this year has been better, and a lot of the people we’ve talked to have been tourists just visiting Marietta,” said Rose Cossett of Kindred Spirits in Wingett Run who, along with her sister, mother and daughter, was selling their unique style of locally-made jewelry.
Nearby Thresea and John McCrady, of Parkersburg, were making and selling custom-made leathercraft for their TJ Leather vending business.
“This is our first year at Harmar Days, but we’ve seen quite a few people on Saturday and Sunday,” Thresea McCrady said. “We’ve also had several special orders during the festival. It’s been a good crowd both days, even though we had a little rain on Saturday.”
She said the leather crafting has become a family business that John McCrady learned from his father and he is now passing those skills on to their son and grandsons.
The Harmar Village shops also experienced a welcome boost in business over the weekend.
“It’s been a good weekend, although last year was probably a little better for us, but we’ve had a lot of good comments about the store,” said Beverly Harper, co-owner of Harper’s Landing on Maple Street.
The shop includes antiques and a variety of other new and old collectibles and knick-knacks.
“We’ve seen a lot of people from out of town, too, this year – from areas like Zanesville and Columbus,” Harper said.
Attorney Bill Burton, whose offices are located in the Harmar District, helped coordinate this year’s event.
“We borrowed a popcorn machine from the Bantam League by giving them a donation, then we make popcorn and give it away at the festival as a way of thanking everyone for their support of Harmar Village,” he said. “And I think we gave away more popcorn this year than during all of the street festivals in the last three years.”
Burton said the annual apple pie contest had some delicious entries, and Joyce Iaderosa, of Marietta, took first place.
Swaney said proceeds realized from the Harmar Days Street Festival go to support the Historic Harmar Railroad Bridge Company.
“We usually bring in around $1,000 every year,” he said.
As in the past, the turning of the railroad bridge was the highlight of the festival with hundreds of people lined both sides of the Muskingum River or “rode” the span as it was opened and closed Saturday morning. Operated by hand-cranked gears, the 150-plus-year-old bridge was designed to swing open for passage of sternwheelers and other large river craft.