Will there be festivals in ’21?

Marietta event forecast for 2021 discussed

File photo of the Sternwheel Festival

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic caused disruption and canceled virtually every local event in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

But this year, as vaccines roll out and certain restrictions are lifted, Marietta has plans to hold several events, while some local favorites will delay for another year.

The Sweet Corn Festival, which has been held in Marietta in mid-July and has grown significantly since 2008, is canceled for 2021, but the planning committee is hopeful for the event in 2022.

“The community loves the festivals we do in our county, and the Sweet Corn Festival is one of the biggest and it’s free to the public,” said Mark Doebrich, the vice chair of the Sweet Corn planning committee. “We miss the festival, we really do.”

The decision to cancel ultimately was unanimously decided by the committee due to multiple factors: many dedicated volunteers are older and felt uncomfortable with the concept of a large gathering; financially it was a risk; and the desire to not contribute to a spike in COVID-19 infection rates.

“Having large groups of people just doesn’t make sense right now,” Doebrich said. “We like working hard to put on a fantastic event and we are proud of what the Sweet Corn Festival has become.”

Since its creation, the Sweet Corn Festival has moved from Front Street to Muskingum Park and expanded to include vendors of corn-related items, crafts and activities for the community and a car show. The festival largely promotes local agricultural education, with two $1,000 college scholarships typically available.

“Our largest year we sold approximately 8,000 ears of corn,” Doebrich said.

The corn, which is Silver Queen Sweet Corn, is donated to be sold by Witten’s Family Market and is roasted, according to Doebrich.

“It’s the best,” Doebrich said. “It’s like candy.”

Another popular festival in July, the River Roar powerboat races, has been officially canceled for 2021.

Despite these cancellations, there are still a multitude of events tentatively scheduled for this spring, summer and fall.

Marietta College students can look forward to their annual “Doo Dah Day” celebration, which is happening on Friday.

“Our plan is to have the event in COVID-friendly ways,” said Ellen Campbell, the assistant director for campus involvement at Marietta College. “The college has worked with students to embrace the tradition and provide an outlet for an opportunity to have some fun.”

While the festivities typically congregate on the Harrison Hall lawn between Putnam and Seventh streets, different activities and food trucks will be dispersed across campus. On the lawn, there will be a DJ and a live streamed concert from the electronic music duo 3OH!3 at 8 p.m. for all students.

Although there are no hot air balloons as tradition tells for the event, Campbell still strongly believes in the motto that “Doo Dah Day will be everywhere.”


In May, the Marietta Memorial Day Parade, sponsored by American Legion Post 64, is set to happen and mark the beginning of event season.

For the Fourth of July weekend, the Washington County Veteran Service Commission is hosting a motorcycle escort on July 1 from Caldwell, to Armory Square in Marietta for the Lima Company Memorial’s traveling exhibit “The Eyes of Freedom,” according to Robert Fitzgerald, the executive director of the commission.

The exhibit includes interactive displays and sculptures that encapsulate the sacrifices of the U.S. Marine and Navy corpsmen of the Lima Company, a reserves base in Columbus.

The exhibit will be available with free admission from July 2-4, with the weekend festivities concluding with a Vietnam Welcome Home Ceremony on July 4 at 1 p.m. to honor Vietnam War veterans.

For more information on these events and how you can participate, contact Robert Fitzgerald at Robert.fitzgerald@washingtoncountyohvsc.org or 740-568-9009.


Harmar Days is scheduled for July 31 and Aug. 1, with live music, food vendors and craft vendors.

“It is gonna be a big spotlight on raising money to save the (Harmar) bridge,” said Larry Sloter, the chairman of the Historic Harmar Bridge Company.

River, Trails & Ales Festival chairman Eric Dowler noted that their advisory team will meet today to set forth plans for the second weekend of August.

Marietta is also the stop for many historic riverboats, and currently their appearance is still set to occur, with all dates being subject to delay or cancellation depending on the circumstance.

The American Duchess will stop in Marietta on June 12 and 16. The American Queen will arrive on July 3 and July 7. Finally, the riverboat tour will be wrapped up with the Queen of the Mississippi, which will appear Aug. 17, Aug. 21 and Sept. 6, 26 and 30.

And the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival is currently set to occur on its usual second weekend in September, according to Deana Clark, the executive director of the Marietta-Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“It is being planned to happen as normal, but everything is up in the air,” she said.

Clark encourages the public to check with the “Visit Marietta” Facebook page.

“That’s where you will find updates on cancellations,” Clark said.

Jenna Pierson may be reached at jpierson@newsandsentinel.com





∫ Belpre Homecoming: August 5-7

∫ 6th Annual Howlin’ in the Alley: August 27

∫ Washington County Fair: September 3-7

∫ Barlow Fair: September 24-25

∫ Lowell Oktoberfest: October 2-3


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