The Ohio River Sternwheel Festival will bring boats and crowds of people to the Ohio River levee in Marietta this weekend but the preparations to the site are already well under way.
"We start a little early. We've got to get everything prepared," said Brian Richards, chairman for the festival's facilities committee.
Richards and his committee started laying waterlines for the boats on Sunday. They also have to make sure all the portable toilets, the first aid camper and the safety barriers are in place, he said.
"When my stuff is calming down a little bit, our guys go and help the entertainment facilities out," said Richards.
The entertainment barge was scheduled to arrive this morning, and setting it up is no small task, said David Salzman, chairman of the Entertainment Facilities Committee.
"The stage goes up (tonight) at 6 p.m. and Delta Tau Delta comes and helps put up the stage," said Salzman.
Opening Ceremonies - 6 p.m.
Steve & Beverly Pottmeyer - 7 p.m.
Arrival- The Journey Tribute Band- 8 p.m.
David Nail - 9:30 p.m.
Introduction of Queen Candidates - 11:30 a.m.
Marietta High School Wall of Sound - Noon
Marietta High School Show Choir "Premiere" - 1 p.m.
Monday Calling - 2 p.m.
Eric Himan - 3 p.m.
The Chase - 4 p.m.
Monday Calling - 5 p.m.
Eric Himan - 6 p.m.
Coronation & Recognition of Past Queens - 7 p.m.
The Chase - 7:30 p.m.
Stayin' Alive- One Nite of the Bee Gees - 8:30 p.m.
Harry J. Robinson Memorial Fireworks - 9:30 p.m.
Stayin' Alive- One Nite of the Bee Gees - 10 p.m.
Sunrise Service - 8 a.m.
Car Show - 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Alfie and Omegas - 10 a.m.
Jennifer Simmons - 11 a.m.
Hadden Sayers Band - Noon
Captain James E. Sands Memorial Races - 1 p.m.
Hadden Sayers Band - 2 p.m.
Phil Dirt and the Dozers - 2:30 p.m.
Marietta College's Delta Tau Delta fraternity will contribute about 20 people to the effort, he said.
"Setting up the entertainment barge is a big event. They run great big electrical cables down from on the street and get the gang plank up," said Pat Bober, head of publicity for the festival.
Preparations will ramp up even more on Thursday when the vendors are expected to arrive, said Jon Coppernoll, director general of this year's Sternwheel Festival.
"Thursday we will close the 100 blocks of Greene and South Second streets," said Coppernoll.
Each individual vending venue has to be inspected by both the Marietta Fire Department and the Marietta Health Department, said Richards.
All that work will come to fruition during Friday's opening ceremonies at 6 p.m.
The ceremony will include a special recognition ceremony for local wounded veteran, Kyle Hockenberry, who lost both legs and his left arm in Afghanistan more than a year ago.
Friday night will also feature a Journey tribute band, Arrival, and country crooner David Nail.
Saturday night, Stayin' Alive, One Nite of the Bee Gees will play leading up to and following the always popular Harry J. Robinson Memorial Fireworks at 9:30 p.m., said Cheri Seevers, president of the 2012 festival.
Though the fireworks display is always kept tightly under wraps, Sternwheel attendees can expect some surprises this year, she said.
"They did share there would be some new things, some new kinds of shells this year, and maybe a little bit of a Jimmy Buffet theme," hinted Seevers.
It takes two, sometimes three days to set the fireworks display up, said Dennis Blauser, chairman of the fireworks committee.
The festival will wrap up Sunday with a performance by long time Sternwheel Festival performers, Phil Dirt and the Dozers.
"Before you know it is time to start tearing it all down," joked Richards.