The weekend's mild weather provided the perfect backdrop for the Little Muskingum Watershed Association's 23rd Annual Fall Foliage Tour between Marietta and Woodsfield.
Tourists from far and wide were checking out the fall colors along Ohio 26 Sunday afternoon.
Glenn and Emma Rice, who live just south of Topeka, Kansas, had turned off the highway to cross the Hune Covered Bridge north of Dart.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Friends Mariah Bowersock and Megan Beaver ride a cardboard “sled” down a straw-strewn hillside during the Little Muskingum Watershed Association’s 23rd Annual Fall Foliage Tour and Antique Engine/Equipment Show Sunday afternoon.
"I've been to Dresden, Ohio, in the past, but this is our first time to visit this area," Emma said. "The last time I was in Ohio just happened to be in October when the leaves were turning. So we decided to come back."
Glenn said now that he and Emma are retired they can take their time and enjoy such trips through Ohio's country landscapes.
"The trees are still a bit greener than I expected, but the sugar maples are turning," he said. "We have to plant sugar maples back home, but here they just grow everywhere."
The LMWA was organized in 1987 to promote economic development of rural communities within the watershed.
The association's main fundraising event is the annual Fall Foliage Tour and Antique Engine/Equipment Show just off Ohio 26 in Wingett Run.
More information about the watershed association is available at www.littlemuskingumdevelopment.org
Dave Silvus of Hackney, just north of Beverly, hopped out of his pickup to take a few shots of the Rinard Covered Bridge near Wingett Run for his wife.
"It's my first time on the self-guided tour, and we're really enjoying it," he said.
Sunday was also the first foliage tour for Rosalie West of Elyria and her daughter and son-in-law, Chris and Chuck Noga from Grafton, Ohio.
"We have some property in the Rinard Mills area, and have been down before, but it's my mother-in-law's first time," Chuck said.
West said she was thoroughly enjoying her visit.
"I really like the covered bridges and just looking at the country scenes along the way," she said.
Jay and Gail DiCarlo, from Lockport, N.Y., were camping at the Leith Run Recreation Area near New Matamoras and had read about the covered bridges along Ohio 26 on the Wayne National Forest web site.
"This is only the fourth covered bridge I've seen in my entire life," Gail said of the Rinard span. "I did think there would be more fall color in the trees, but it's still very beautiful here."
Just up the road, Kurt Eddy, vice president of the Little Muskingum Watershed Association, was pulling a cartload of kids around the association's property with a John Deere tractor.
The cart ride was among several events that took place at the watershed association grounds as part of the Fall Foliage Tour and Antique Engine/Equipment Show on Saturday and Sunday.
"The watershed group was formed to promote economic development and tourism in rural areas within the Little Muskingum watershed, and this is our biggest fundraiser of the year," he said. "We also want to show visitors the kind of equipment that was used on farms in the past."
Kurt Eddy noted several pieces of antique machinery were on display, including what is believed to be the only remaining Bucyrus Erie 48L drilling machine in the U.S. The cable drilling device towered high above the watershed grounds.
Other antique equipment included a portable service drilling rig that was built in 1949 and still being used by John Thompson in his well drilling business.
Watershed association president Les Eddy said the equipment show draws many curious travelers onto the grounds from Ohio 26. Several hundred were estimated to have attended the weekend event.
"The crowd was probably down a bit from past years, although we had a pretty good turnout Saturday," he said. "But we've nearly sold out of food, which is good."
Les Eddy said the annual fundraiser may bring between $1,000 and $3,000 to help fund the watershed association's economic development efforts.
"It all depends on the weather and what kind of turnout we have from year to year," he said.