The part of the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival that draws the biggest crowd - the Harry J. Robinson Fireworks Display - will be "very exciting" this year, promises a festival organizer.
"It's going to include a tribute to the show's founder, Harry Robinson," said Dennis Blauser, chairman of the fireworks committee. "After all, it's his show - I'm just putting it on for him."
Robinson passed away in February at the age of 89. For the past three years, he had been suffering from the effects of Alzheimer's disease and was living in a nursing home.
"Harry founded the festival and Harry always had a fond love for fireworks, so part of the first festival was him providing fireworks for the first show...and he continued to coordinate the show until about seven years ago," Blauser said. "The fireworks are the largest fireworks (show) in this part of the country and at times our show is bigger than fireworks shows in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Columbus."
The show has been produced by New Castle, Pa.-based Pyrotecnico for the last several years. The show, which typically draws about 50,000 people, according to Sternwheel committee estimates, is expected to last about 25 minutes and will be coordinated with music.
"Some of the music will be a tribute to Harry and there will be sections of the music that are geared to children and then there will be a variety of music in the show for all music tastes," Blauser said, noting that the music will be broadcast over the radio on WNUS 107.1 FM.
If you go
What: Harry J. Robinson Fireworks Display during the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival.
When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
Blauser said during this year's show there will be some fireworks set off that have never been seen before in this area but he said he wanted to keep details a surprise.
"The (Williamstown) bridge sidewalk will be closed prior to and immediately after the show and the majority of the fireworks will be set off of barges that are moored in the Ohio River," Blauser said. "There will be surprises in the show and you might want to keep your eyes peeled."
Fleming resident Linda Gorman, 62, said she has never missed the fireworks show.
"I just always think we've got the best ones around," she said. "Besides just fireworks, there are flowers and hearts - they're neat."