Looking ahead at upcoming events in the Mid-Ohio Valley

The Marietta/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau joined travel and tourism destinations across the country from May 7 to 13 to recognize the 34th Annual National Travel and Tourism Week.

National Travel and Tourism Week–America’s annual salute to travel and tourism–was established by a congressional resolution in 1983. The week unites communities across the country to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth, and personal well-being.

“Travel supports one in nine American jobs, including 2,100 jobs right here in Marietta/Washington County,” said Jeri Knowlton, Marietta/Washington County VCB executive director. “The week is a great opportunity for our community to celebrate what travel means to the local economy and our quality of life.”

Knowlton indicated the CVB and Marietta Main Street hosted a special “First Friday” event on May 5. The night included a variety of family-friendly activities, such as a bike ride, Segway tours, bonfire with s’mores, historical characters walking throughout downtown and more.

“The month of May kicks-off our travel season. Area attractions open, festivals begin to fill the calendar and everyone is eager to spend time outdoors. There’s always something happening in Washington County,” said Knowlton. “From nationally-known annual festivals to beloved one-of-a-kind local events, you can find it here. We encourage folks to invite their friends and family to Marietta/Washington County this summer and enjoy all that we have to offer.”

Upcoming major events:

First Fridays June 2, July7, Aug. 4 and Sept. 1

First Fridays are a celebration of small business, community, art, music, and all that makes downtown Marietta special. Downtown stores will remain open for shoppers from 5-9 p.m. Shoppers will have an opportunity to win a free giveaway each First Friday by receiving one raffle ticket per each $10 purchase in any of the downtown shops. www.mariettaohio.org

Taste of Parkersburg June 3

Now in its 11th year, Downtown PKB’s annual Taste of Parkersburg event offers an exciting mix of food, wine and music to patrons of this unique and spirited festival. Gates open at 5 p.m. Entertainment is from 5 – 11 p.m. Food Tasting takes place from 5 – 9:30 p.m. Wine & Beer Tasting lasts from 5 – 10:30 p.m. For more information and tickets, www.downtownpkb.com

Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival June 16-18

Where in West Virginia will you find Reggae, Latin, Mexican, Native American, Celtic and American Roots Musicians all sharing the same stage? Where in West Virginia will you find Native American Dancers, Middle Eastern Dancers and Martial Artists all performing at the same event? Where can you eat Polish Kielbasa, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Italian Pizza, Funnel Cakes, Chinese Egg Rolls, Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, and an all American hot dog within steps of one another? At the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival at the Parkersburg City Park! The festival is free to the public and celebrates diversity with a smorgasbord of artists and performers. www.movmcf.org

Marietta Riverfront Roar July 7-9

The hottest race boats in the world unleash full-bore exhilaration during this professional powerboat racing event. Enjoy the best in tunnel boat racing all weekend. Activities, live entertainment, great food, fireworks and more will take place. The event is free and open to the public. Kids and parents alike will see the boats up close and meet the drivers and crews. http://riverfrontroar.org/

Marietta Sweet Corn Festival July 14-15

Plan to attend the Marietta Sweet Corn Festival as the city celebrates its wonderful agricultural history. Proceeds from the Sweet Corn Festival are used to fund scholarships for Washington County High School seniors pursuing a degree in agriculture or related areas.

For more information, here is the link. www.mariettasweetcorn.com/

Inland Waterways Festival Aug. 5 and 6

The Inland Waterways Festival is a free, educational event with performers, storytellers, music, hands-on activities, model boat demonstrations, whistle blows, steam launch rides, wildlife displays featuring raptors, owls, and a 2,200 gallon freshwater aquarium. The festival commemorates the heritage and continuing importance of America’s rivers, canals, and lakes in the development of the nation. www.campusmartiusmuseum.org/iwf.html

Ohio River Sternwheel Festival Sept. 8-10

One by one, from up river and down, the sternwheelers arrive in Marietta, home of the American Sternwheel Association. In addition to the 30-35 authentic sternwheel boats that line the river bank, the weekend is full of free, family-oriented entertainment and the best fireworks anywhere. Additional events during the weekend include: children’s activities; coronation of Queen Genevieve; Little Miss and Little Mr. Sternwheel Pageant; Sunday Sunrise Service; Rollin’ Oldies Car Show, photo contest and more. Admission is free. http://ohioriversternwheelfestival.org/