Harmar Days Street Festival

This year’s event to honor late mayor

While there will be a significant loss felt with the passing of Brooks Harper, former president of the Historic Harmar Bridge Company, this year’s Harmar Days Street Festival will be held in his honor.

Harper passed away in April at the age of 79. He was a business owner and former city councilman, president of council, mayor of Marietta and the head of the Safety Town program. He was also instrumental in keeping the legacy of the historic railroad bridge alive.

“Brooks has been the guiding light in all of this and I will be remembering and missing him this weekend,” said Chuck Swaney, the event’s organizer for the past several years.

The annual festival and fundraiser for the bridge will be held Saturday and Sunday on Maple Street and surrounding areas and will feature food and craft vendors, entertainment, a steam train that children can ride and a car show. The turning of the railroad bridge will happen at noon on both days with a nod to Harper on Saturday.

“We will be installing a historic plaque in his honor, made by Sewah Studios, that will be put on the bridge,” Swaney said. “We are hoping some of his family will be there and it will be important to those of us who are part of the Harmar Bridge Company.”

Around eight to 10 volunteers are needed to turn the bridge; others can “ride” the bridge as it turns for a donation of $5 and up. All proceeds go to help preserve the bridge.

Thanks to feedback from vendors and visitors, the whistle blow will be held on the hour rather than sporadically, giving people time to prepare for the sometimes loud and unexpected sound, according to Swaney.

New this year will be a flea market set up in the parking lot behind the Busy Bee restaurant, near the restored railroad cars.

First-time volunteer and longtime Harmar resident Donna Schob is organizing the vendors.

“We’ve been here about 37 years and I have attended the festival but this is my first year helping,” she said. “I used to help with the Sweet Corn Festival but I thought I should probably do something to help my neighborhood.”

She has lined up around 20 vendors offering everything from woodworking to wreathmaking. Vendors pay a fee of $20 for two days and that money goes back into the Historic Harmar Bridge Company.

Little antique hit-and-miss engines will be on display near the flea market; Schob has also arranged for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to offer fingerprinting, a strolling bagpiper will play and Joan Coffey, of Belpre, will demonstrate the art of spinning.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days.

Contact Chuck Swaney at 740-215-4663 for more information.

If you go

– What: Harmar Days Street Festival.

– When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Bridge turning both days at noon. Car show Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

– Where: 100 block of Maple Street in Harmar Village.

– Details: Shops open; crafters, country store and food vendors; entertainment all day; the mighty “Minneapolis” steam tractor; Ohio River Valley whistle blow on the hour; the Great Cagney Railroad steam train.

– For information: Chuck Swaney, 740-215-4663.