There's a new event-on land and on water-for area families this weekend.
The Inland Waterways Festival was designed to commemorate the heritage and continuing importance of America's rivers, canals and lakes in the development of the country, according to a press release from the Ohio River Museum, which is playing host to this event.
"We started talking about this event about this time last year," said Glenna Hoff, educator at the Ohio River and Campus Martius Museums. "We are looking to showcase education and also have a family event. We have a lot of hands-on activities for children planned."
Times file photo
Museum historian Bill Reynolds works on a 16-foot poplar log he and others plan to fashion into a dugout canoe outside the Ohio River Museum. The canoe will be displayed as part of the first Inland Waterways Festival at the museum this weekend, along with many other hands-on activities, living history reenactments, tours and more.
Among the activities will be features by RiverWorks Discovery, a national outreach education effort to recognize the role rivers have played and will continue to play in the nation's future.
Model sternwheel boats will be displayed in the pool under the museum as well as the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission's (ORSANCO) traveling freshwater aquarium, holding 2,000 gallons of water and fish native to the Ohio River. The West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center will also be on hand with hawks, eagles and owls.
"We really want to show all aspects of river life and how things have changed," Hoff said.
If you go
What: Inland Waterways Festival.
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Ohio River Museum, 601 Front St., Marietta.
Cost: Free, donations will be accepted.
Details: Demonstrations, displays, children's activities and living history.
For information: Contact the museum at 373-3750.
Special guests Mark Twain and Lydia and Nicholas Roosevelt will also be visiting the area as reenactors present living history programs.
"This will also be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the New Orleans and I'm sure the Roosevelts will have stories to tell about earthquakes and childbirth," said Hoff.
The New Orleans was the first steamboat on the western waters of the United States. On Oct. 15, 1811, the ship began its maiden voyage from Pittsburgh and traveled the waters of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans, where it landed in January 1812.
Along the route, the passengers and crew were impacted by some of the most powerful earthquakes to ever hit the eastern United States on the New Madrid fault system. Eyewitnesses to the event reported that a small part of the Mississippi River even appeared to flow backwards for a time. The largest of the series of earthquakes was nearly a magnitude 8, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Other interesting facts about life on the river will be sure to entertain and educate visitors.
There will be tours of the W.P. Snyder Jr., the last remaining steam-powered sternwheel towboat. The Snyder returned to the River Museum last year after a nine-month, $1.4 million renovation project to fix the hull and paddlewheel.
"The next step is that we need to raise money to refurbish the cosmetic things," said Hoff.
There is no cost for the weekend event; however, donations will be accepted to help the nonprofit organization to be able to bring more programs to the community.
"We are just getting our feet wet, so to speak, with this event this year," explained Hoff. "But next year we would like to do even more."
Additional weekend events include a line throwing competition, which will be held for cash prizes, as well as special sightseeing tours on The Valley Gem on Saturday. For more information about the tours, call 373-7862.
Saturday evening, a lighted boat parade will cruise down the Muskingum River and back. A flotilla will begin at the Marietta Boat Club, off 713 Allen St., just up from the Ohio River Museum.
"I know in years past a lot of people have lined the (Harmar Railroad) bridge and the Putnam bridge (to watch the parade)," said commodore Anthony Albright, with the boat club. He added that spectators should also be able to see from either side of the Muskingum.
There will be several houseboats, cruisers and other pleasure craft decorated with lights and the group will travel together beginning at 8:30 p.m. Anyone with a boat who would like to participate should contact the Marietta Boat Club at 374-9066.