Inland Waterways Festival set for Saturday

Photo by Bruce Wunderlich There are many activities for the kids at the Inland Waterways Festival at the Ohio River Museum in Marietta.

MARIETTA — Every two years, a festival is held to celebrate the waters that have helped shape Marietta’s culture and commerce.

The Inland Waterways Festival will be Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ohio River Museum on Front Street in Marietta.

The festival is sponsored in part by the Washington County Public Library, and this is the first time Marketing and Communications Director Sarah Arnold will be participating.

“A lot of people are interested and excited about it since we started promoting it on Facebook,” she said. “That makes me even more excited about it.”

Arnold said the festival is for promoting the heritage of the river culture in the Mid-Ohio Valley, as well as what having a waterway has meant to our area and the country.

“It only happens every other year, so people look forward to it,” said Glenna Hoff, festival chairman and director of education and programming for the Ohio River Museum.

Hoff added the event is hands-on with a lot of activities for the younger crowd.

“It’s pretty much interactive,” she said. “It’s mostly like a fair with exhibits and music.”

There will be presenters such as Mark Twain, as well as Sandra and Richard Hennings, who will share stories of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

“There will be other people talking about aspects of living life on the river and the boats,” Hoff said.

Along with living history presenters, there will be minstrel music, a working lock model and an exhibition of how to tie boating knots.

Hoff said people will also be able to tour the Ohio River Museum and the W.P. Snyder for free that day.

“Everything is free, except for the food,” she added. “We will have ice cream and the Marietta Civitan will have their trailer.”

Hoff said the biggest attraction is the 2,200-gallon freshwater fish tank provided by the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission. The tank will feature fish that live in river waterways.

“It displays freshwater fish that you normally can’t see from the shore. People shock the fish and put them in the aquarium,” she said. “The tank is right at eye level and it’s just like going to the aquarium. Just seeing what’s beyond the waterline is pretty cool.”

The ORSANCO website notes the display is designed to demonstrate the diversity of life sustained by the Ohio and improvements that have been made in water quality.

Hoff said there will be plenty of activities and giveaways for the kids, including creating water cycle bracelets and rain gutter races.

“A lady comes from Indiana and she has a gift with children,” she added.

New this year are the RiverWorks Discovery and the Mid-Ohio Valley Dragon Boat Team.

“We aren’t just showing pictures or telling stories, we are providing experiences and bringing our river heritage to life,” said Hoff. “People can see how a hand-operated lock operates. They get to see the types of fish that live below the waterline. They can tour a 100-year-old sternwheeler. They can listen to stories about the early days on the rivers.”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com