West Side festival a hit in Marietta

MARIETTA – A West Side festival kicks off today.

Harmar Days is around 30 years old and highlights the businesses in Harmar Village around Maple Street.

It’s not the biggest festival in the area, but it’s a big draw for many, said Chuck Swaney, festival board member.

“In the big scheme of events, in terms of the Sweet Corn (Festival) and the River Roar, it’s Harmar Village,” he said. “We raise a little bit of money.”

The festival raises about $1,000 and the Country Store is the main source of income, he said.

While there are many things to keep attendees happy, Swaney said the old railroad bridge is the main reason for Harmar Days.

“The turning of the Railroad Bridge is a big deal,” Swaney said. “It allowed paddle wheels to go up the river and (transport) all kinds of goods that went from Marietta to Zanesville. Sure, you can visit shops, but there’s also this 150-year-old turning bridge that needs to be fully restored and saved. That’s really why this is happening.”

The bridge will be turned at noon Saturday and again on Sunday.

A variety of vendors will be available, Swaney said.

“Vendor-wise, there will be jewelry, hand-crafted crochet items and some other artisans,” he said. “It’ll be a nice selection.”

Log Cabin Country Quilts has been on Maple Street since April 2012 and owner Ginny Guthrie says business has been good.

“This is a great spot for a quilt shop,” she said. “It’s very visible and I get a lot of foot traffic. The neighbors are great, people down the street are supportive and encouraging, and great to work with.”

She doesn’t sell fabric, but happily quilts quilt tops and items that customers bring.

“There are some really interesting ones I’ve had,” Guthrie said. “People will open a drawer after their mom passed away and they’ll find quilt blocks. There was a woman who had a quilt made with her and her brother’s clothes.

“I feel honored to be a part of that tradition,” she said.

She once had a quilt made of Royal Crown bags in a drunkard’s path, with half-circles inside of a square, she said. Put it together, it made a crooked path.

Guthrie said she’s looking forward to the crowd.

“We get a lot of foot traffic,” she said. “It’s always fun to meet new people.”

Cheeseman’s Bait Shop owners Rick and Kim Flowers bought the shop and opened it during Harmar Days last year.

Kim said her great-grandfather started the shop in 1957 and her cousin took it over after he died. After her cousin’s death a few years ago, Kim said she and her husband had to buy it.

“We’ve been pretty busy,” she said. “We’re looking forward to getting busier and busier.”

Flowers said the store is more than just a simple bait shop.

“We have crafts, jewelry, bait and fishing supplies. My husband is an antiquer. He loves to do auctions,” she said. “I wanted the building because it was my great-grandpa’s. We just decided to do it all.”

Swaney said Sunday will be a big draw for car lovers.

“(The car show) always gets a big turnout,” he said. “We usually get about 40 cars.”