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Marietta Riverfront Roar returning after pandemic hiatus

Tens of thousands of people will gather July 8-10 in downtown Marietta for the annual Riverfront Roar. (File Photo)

MARIETTA — The Marietta Riverfront Roar is coming back for its 20th year after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to converge on downtown Marietta July 8 to 10.

Event Chairperson Carmen Taylor said they are expecting more people than usual because the roar hasn’t occurred since 2019.

“The boat racers really like it,” she said of the Powerboat Nationals races held all weekend. “Everything is kind of close knit and the racers can be close up and personal with the people.”

She said the roar is a “whole different experience” than the typical summer event in the Mid-Ohio Valley, so people come in from all over to see the races.

“New Martinsville (W.Va.) is as close as they can get to see these powerboats,” Taylor said. “There are 20 to 25 powerboats, so there will be a few different heats.”

The event kicks off at 5 p.m. July 8 with the opening of the beer garden at the parking lot of the Lafayette Hotel. A drivers party will follow at 5:30 p.m.

Officials said the beer garden is open on Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Available beverages include water, select Pepsi products, Budweiser and Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Fat Tire, and White Claw.

The weekend’s first entertainer, Back Porch Alibi, will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. at the beer garden. The Troubadours will perform from 8 to 10 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to midnight, Nashville recording star and native West Virginian Morgan White will take the stage.

Taylor said in between shows all weekend, a DJ will be on the Ohio River in a boat ‘Yacht Sea’ playing music that is wired for an LED lightshow.

Saturday’s events kick off at 9 a.m. when the racers begin practicing. Heat races run from approximately 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tragic Truth will take the entertainment stage from 6 to 8 p.m., Division Street will take over from 8 to 9:30 p.m. and Aftershock will play from 10 p.m. to midnight.

One of the big draws Saturday night is the fireworks display which is set to start around 9:30 p.m., Taylor said. The Yacht Sea will finish off the evening with the light show on the Ohio River.

Sunday morning, the Rollin’ Oldies Car Show will begin at 8 a.m. at Front and Butler streets and racers will begin practicing at 9 a.m.

From approximately noon to 4 p.m., the Grand Prix of Ohio will feature the American Powerboat Association F200 Central Divisional Championship and the APBA SST45/Formula Light Region 6 Championship.

The weekend will wrap up around 5 p.m. with the awarding of trophies.

A call to Dan Bunting, Powerboat Nationals race director, was not returned by press time.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

***

If You Go…

* What: Marietta Riverfront Roar

* When: July 8 to 10

* Where: Downtown Marietta

* Cost: Free

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