MARIETTA - After a rousing fireworks display Saturday evening, the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival finished up Sunday with boat races along the Ohio River Levee, a car show along Second Street and music by Phil Dirt and the Dozers.
From her seat below the Williamstown Bridge on the Marietta side of the river Saturday, Tammy Evans, 47, of Randolph, had an awesome view of the Harry J. Robinson Fireworks.
"Down here, you can just kind of feel the boom," she said Sunday afternoon.
Photos by Sharon Bopp
A trio of sternwheelers heads for the finish line at Sunday’s annual James E. Sands Memorial Race on the final afternoon of this year’s Ohio River Sternwheeler Festival.
Evans, who watched the 25-minute-long fireworks show with some 60 other friends and family members, has been to other fireworks displays near her home and in Green Bay, Wis. None rivaled the show she saw in Marietta on Saturday night.
"They were the best fireworks ever," Evans noted.
Jon Coppernoll, director general of this year's sternwheel festival, said the 2012 fireworks were a tribute to the Beatles and Jimmy Buffett, reflected in the music played during the show and the palm tree fireworks that were part of the evening's sparklers.
Patty Carpenter, 62, of Marietta, enjoyed the palm tree fireworks from her spot in Williamstown. The house behind her was playing the fireworks music, which added to the mood, she said.
"Instead of just going up and exploding, (the palm trees) came right down to us, like 3-Ds," Carpenter said.
Amanda VanDyke, 18, a Marietta College freshman from Washington Court House, Ohio, said she didn't notice the tropical-themed fireworks. However, she did see the heart-shaped fireworks.
"They were the best fireworks I've seen, and there was cool music, too," VanDyke said.
Robin Stemple, of Washington, W.Va., said there are two events that she never misses at the Sternwheel Festival.
"It's the fireworks and sternwheel races," Stemple said. "The fireworks is a great event for the family and for our region."
Carol Williams, 46, of Charleston, agreed.
"The fireworks were really nice, I loved them," said Williams, who has been coming to the Sternwheel Festival for 37 years.
"That's why I come every year," she said.
Williams had claimed space by the walkway in front of the festival's entertainment barge, so she and family members could see the boat races and hear the musicians on Sunday.
"I get up at 4 a.m. to come (to this spot) at 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday," she said.
Six rounds of sternwheeler races on Sunday afternoon didn't disappoint the crowd along the riverbank, starting at the Interstate 77 bridge, paddling beneath the Williamstown Bridge and hitting the finish line at the far end of the entertainment barge.
"It's the Dianna Jean by a boat length," announced Kathy Shively, river commentator, as the winner of the day's first race reached the finish line.
Shively encouraged race fans to head up to the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival Car Show on Second Street.
"Take a trip down memory lane," she said.
Fond memories of cars, trucks and bikes kicked into gear at the car show, organized by the Rollin' Oldies Car Club.
The car show featured tunes from the oversized Rollin' Oldies Jukebox, which played a variety of songs from yesteryear.
A shiny, sparkly 1966 Ford Fairlane painted in a shade called "Orange Crush" was the car that Tom Insley, 65, of Marietta, entered in the show. Insley has been participating in the festival's car show for 10 years. He also shows his 1969 Mustang.
"I alternate back and forth between the two," said Insley.
"This is one of the best car shows around," he said of the sternwheel festival event. "There's so many cars and a big crowd."
Weirton, W.Va., resident Don Graham agreed.
"We have car shows where we live but they're not this big," he said.
In other festival news, Coppernoll reported that Friday evening's "bucket pass" done in the area near the entertainment barge, raised $1,821.58 for the Steven Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. According to Coppernoll, "an anonymous donor donated $178.42 to round it up to $2,000 even."