MARIETTA - Downtown streets were filled with people Saturday afternoon for the 35th annual Ohio River Sternwheel Festival in Marietta.
"I'm from Marietta and Sternwheel is like a homecoming for me," said Jana Williams of Hilliard, Ohio. "We come down for the festival as often as we can."
Williams let her son Jackson, 4, play on the inflatables Saturday afternoon and said he was excited for the fireworks.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Rain did not dampen the annual fireworks display Saturday night at the 35th annual Ohio River Sternwheel Festival.
"He loves fireworks and I'm sure he'll have a blast," she said.
Fireworks are one reason Dale Martin and friend John Lilly drive down from Canton with their wives and nine other couples each year.
"Our group been coming down here for the festival for four years," Martin said.
"We stop and play golf on the way down on Friday and stay in Mineral Wells for the weekend," Lilly said. "We like seeing the people and the city."
"And don't forget the fireworks," Martin said. "They are the best fireworks displays here."
Fireworks were also on the minds of the committee members as threats of rain were forecast.
"We have been told the rain will go north of us, but you never know," festival committee member Jan Seaman said Saturday afternoon. "It's never rained on a Sternwheel fireworks."
Seaman said Saturday went well and Friday night brought a large crowd.
"We are having a wonderful weekend," said Seaman. "Friday night was amazing and the crowd was great."
Seaman said she had no idea as to the size of the crowd, but that everyone enjoyed the entertainment of classic rock n' roll from festival favorite Phil Dirt and the Dozers and "America's Got Talent" fourth season winner and country music star Kevin Skinner.
"This has been a really great Sternwheel and it isn't over," she said.
The Sternwheel Festival concludes today with more entertainment and sternwheel races on the Ohio River. Each year, a number of the sternwheel boats participate in the James E. Sands Memorial Race on the final afternoon of the festival. This year's sternwheel races will run from 1 to 2 p.m. today.
Before the races, all of the captains who will be participating meet together to work out who will be racing in each of the six heats. The captains are familiar with the capabilities of their own boats and match up by speed and size in six different groups. The course starts in the area of the Ohio River near the head of Marietta Island, upriver from the levee. The race runs for a mile-and-a-half downriver to the finish line at the downriver end of the entertainment barge where it is moored to the levee.
The Ohio River Sternwheel Festival entertainment schedule includes:
* 8 a.m.: Sunrise Service by Williamstown Baptist Church
* 10 a.m.: Alfie and the Omegas
* 11 a.m.: Jennifer Simmons
* Noon: South of the River Band
* 1 p.m.: Captain James E. Sands Memorial Sternheeler Races
* 2 p.m.: South of The River Band
* 2:30 p.m.: Mike Albert and The Big "E" Band "The Ultimate Tribute"