WINGETT RUN - The weekend's warm weather brought hundreds of visitors to northeastern Washington County during the 24th annual Fall Foliage Tour and Antique Engine/Equipment Show.
The event included a self-guided tour along Ohio 26 as it winds through hills and woodlands, following the Little Muskingum River past the area's picturesque farms and at least four century-old covered bridges.
On a hillside just north of Wingett Run, the Little Muskingum Watershed Association dished up food, fun and entertainment for travelers along the fall foliage route on Saturday and Sunday.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Members of the Theobald family gather at one end of the Rinard Covered Bridge near Wingett Run on Sunday during the 24th Annual Fall Foliage Tour, sponsored by the Little Muskingum Watershed Association.
"I think this is the best year we've had for the tour and engine show," Karen Eddy, who coordinates the event for the Little Muskingum Watershed Association, said Sunday afternoon.
She said the tour and show is the association's main fundraising event of the year, adding that the LMWA seeks to promote the northeastern section of Washington County along Ohio 26 as a tourist destination.
"We wanted to show everyone that our end of the county is pretty, too," Eddy said. "But it all started out 24 years ago as an antique farm equipment demonstration. A group of local people would get together every year to demonstrate the equipment in an effort to show the younger generation how the older generation did things in the past."
Among the devices on display during this year's show was a still-operational antique cider press.
"We squeezed I don't know how many jugs of cider out of that press Saturday," Eddy said.
She noted a country store, selling everything from T-shirts and scarves to a variety of homemade jams and jellies, was also part of the weekend event, as well as musical entertainment, kids' activities, and plenty of food.
Roger Jones, another LMWA member who lives north of Wingett Run in Monroe County, was stirring a large pot of apple butter over a wood fire.
"We usually sell out every year," he said of the apple butter. "And we've had a good turnout this year, especially for the antique engines that were on display Saturday."
Danny Nicholson, of West Union, W.Va., was among those who stopped in Sunday afternoon.
"This is my first time here, we have our own tractor club in Doddridge County and just enjoy the fellowship with other people who have the same interest," he said.
Nicholson noted the Doddridge County Heritage Arts Antique Tractor and Flywheel Festival is held during the spring and fall each year.
Gary and Shirley Borell, from Brewster, Ohio, were also newcomers to the fall tour.
"We saw an ad about this tour in the Wayne National Forest in our AAA tour book," Gary said as the couple walked through the Rinard Covered Bridge on Sunday afternoon.
Shirley said they had also toured covered bridges in Ashtabula County, and wanted to see what Washington County had to offer.
A group of about 20 motorcyclists from the Cincinatti area were also taking in the sights along Ohio 26 on Sunday afternoon.
"This is a well-known ride route. It's a beautiful area and we really enjoy it," said Mike Robertson, a member of the Powder Keg Harley Davidson Chapter from Mason, Ohio.
One of the first stops on the fall tour was Hidden Hills Orchard, a few miles north of Marietta.
"We've been a tour stop for several years now, and sell a lot of apples and cider every year," said orchard owner Tom Burch.
He said there were probably more fresh apples sold than cider over the weekend, but the orchard's cider is always a favorite this time of year.
"And we always have some people stop by during the tour who have never been to our orchard before," Burch said.