Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival opens today
MARIETTA — For the ninth year, guided outdoor activities across the Mid-Ohio Valley are expanding as part of the Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival.
“New this year we’re really expanding our kid’s offerings, our beer fest and our healthy lifestyle promotion,” said festival director Eric Dowler. “The Broughton Foundation we’ve partnered a little closer with and we will have a kid trail there at the wildlife reserve Friday with the youth running club coach Deana Farrah from the YMCA.”
The trail run isn’t the only offering for children coming to the weekend festival. There are now three gnome hikes in Kroger Wetlands and Familygrams in the Park co-sponsored by RTA Fest and The Marietta Times on Friday.
“Last year was our first year with headquarters in East Muskingum Park and we got great feedback from those who came, so we’re headquartered out of there again,” explained Dowler. “We have more space for the kids rodeo, the beer fest, all of our music, our yoga offerings and it’s a great place to meet up and see what’s available all over this area… Ultimately the hope is you continue these activities either on your own or with participating organizations like the mountain biking club or the running club after this weekend.”
Today, things will kick off first with biking at Gunlock Park behind Lowe’s in Marietta and then continue into the Marietta Brewing Company for the first tastes of the weekend.
“Then the beer fest is what I’m most excited about,” noted Jeremy Stackpole, board member and coordinator of the beer and restaurant partnerships for the festival. “We’ll have 15 different breweries–one is actually a meadery which makes honey wine– and 66 beers to try.”
On Saturday, from 3 to 7 p.m. in East Muskingum Park attendees of legal drinking age are invited to try those different locally-sourced craft brews, and then continue the fun with the new Ales Trail.
“Jeremy has done such a fantastic job of really growing our partnerships with the local restaurants like the House of Wines and The Town House,” said Dowler. “So now you can also go to those establishments and find the some of the same beers we’re featuring on tap.”
Stackpole said even Weber’s Market is a stop along the new trail.
“You fill up that passport, and there are prizes if you collect more stamps to support all of the places that are supporting us. Plus, you get to see more of what this area has to offer,” he continued. “We also have a new restaurant guide to help people with ideas for places that don’t serve alcohol, places you can hit for breakfast, too.”
And, of course, the “rivers” portion of the festival has expanded with the renaming of the kayaking scavenger hunt.
“We partnered with Hidden Marietta this year and changed the Paddler’s Riddler to the Historic Muskingum River Run,” said Dowler. “Jessica Wielitzka (of Hidden Marietta) has taken cues from David McCullough’s book ‘The Pioneers’ and made clues for people to find along their paddle.”
Dowler said the Memorial Health System is also sending employees to not only help with registration for the weekend events, but is also sending representatives from The Changed Plate, to promote healthy snacking and provide ideas for nutrition over the busy weekend.
Janelle Patterson can be reached at email@example.com.
If You Go…
* What: Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival
* When: Today-Sunday
* Where: Marietta and surrounding nature reserves
* For a full schedule of events visit the festival headquarters in East Muskingum Park, Marietta, or go online to: rtafest.com
Festival Director Eric Dowler