As the 35th annual Ohio River Sternwheel Festival wrapped up Sunday, there were still lines for funnel cakes, raves about Saturday's fireworks and plenty of memories still being made.
The sternwheel captains took to the river under sunny, blue skies Sunday afternoon for the captain's races and crowds gathered to see, including John Provost, of Parkersburg, and his sons J.J., 7, and Gavin, 4.
Back in the area after 17 years of living in California, it was only the boys' second time to see the races and the rest of the festival.
Spectators line the Ohio River Levee during the Sternwheel Festival.
"It's really cool to be able to bring my kids now," said Provost. "When I was a kid this was the coolest thing all summer."
The highlight for the children, still looking for a bounce house Sunday, was Saturday's fireworks display, which included fireworks shot from a barge and from the Williamstown bridge, as is tradition every five years.
"It was like sparkles coming down over the bridge," said J.J. Provost.
JOLENE CRAIG Special to the Times
The fireworks display over the Ohio River at the 35th Ohio River Sternwheel Festival were said by many to be among the event’s best.
"The whole time he kept saying 'Dad are we dreaming this?'" said John Provost. "'Are we really watching this?'"
Even after attending the Sternwheel Festival each of its 35 years Linda Gorman, of Fleming, said she was amazed by the display, which was nearly rained out after showers hit Saturday evening.
"There were quite a few from the bridge and the waterfall was just fantastic," she said. "It's my favorite part of the festival."
On Saturday, Gorman helped man the 4-H lemon shake booth but she returned to downtown Marietta Sunday just to enjoy the scene.
There seemed to be even more people packed into the streets and on the levee than in previous years, she said.
"It seemed busier and more crowded than normal," she said. "There were a lot of people coming to the booth."
Missy Sarento, of Columbus, and her daughter Kayla, 5, were Sternwheel Festival newcomers but Sarento said she may make it a tradition.
"We've had friends invite us here a couple of times and we finally made it," she said. "We had a great time. She loved the fireworks and all the junk food. We ate the fried veggies and that counted for nutrition this weekend."
The two also took a carriage ride around Marietta Sunday.
"It's a beautiful city," Sarento said. "And this is a perfect day for a festival. It's gorgeous out."
Though crowds were thinning out by Sunday afternoon's final musical performances, there were still several hundred people strolling near the levee, drinking lemonade and eating pizza and cotton candy.
Mark Oliver, 61, of Marietta, said it was the promise of some greasy and delicious festival food that drew him back Sunday but he stayed to look over the cars in the Rollin' Oldies car show featured there Sunday.
"There are some beauties," he said. "I wish I could take one home."