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Riverfront Roar canceled for 2021

At a glance:

¯ 2021 Marietta Riverfront Roar canceled.

¯ Event was tentatively scheduled for July 9-11.

¯ Cost to hold the event is around $50,000.

¯ Marietta levee is one site for the Powerboat Nationals.

Source: Carmen Taylor

For the second year in a row, there won’t be a roar on the Marietta riverfront.

The Riverfront Roar board of directors voted to cancel the event last week, which was tentatively scheduled for July 9-11 on the levee in downtown Marietta.

Carmen Taylor, committee chair, said the decision was made as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine “still hasn’t released the full go-ahead for festivals.”

“On April 1, we had to make a lot of commitments monetarily and we weren’t sure how it would work. It’s an awful lot of money,” she explained Tuesday. “It’s about $50,000 right now and that’s totally free to the public.”

Since 2001, the three-day festival features nationally sanctioned powerboat racing through Powerboat Nationals, live music, fireworks, concessions and activities for the kids, officials said.

The Riverfront Roar is one of several sites for Powerboat Nationals, which ran three sets of races in 2019 — ProTunnel 1, ProTunnel 2 and ProSport.

Taylor said this was the first festival on the Powerboat National schedule to cancel.

She said they were definitely planning to hold the event in 2022.

“It’s what we’re hoping and praying for,” she remarked. “We want to get back on the water, as do the racers.”

¯ ¯ ¯

The festival brings tens of thousands of people to downtown Marietta, said Mayor Josh Schlicher.

He said the loss of the event is not only because it’s a favorite, but because of the money and tourists it brings to the area.

“With general shopping and spending dollars all over town, it has a substantial impact,” he said.

A big impact is on the hotel tax, which is split 50/50 with the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Schlicher said the money goes into the city’s general fund for police and fire, general services of Marietta.

He broke down how much is lost in hotel revenue for the weekend.

“There’s three nights and about a thousand rooms. There’s 3,000 rooms,” he explained. “With an average price of around $125 a night, you do the math (approximately $375,000).”

He said local hotels are pretty well sold out for that weekend, “and with the new Holiday Inn Express and Fairfield and Comfort Inn, I think those are almost 100 rooms each that we didn’t have years ago.”

Schlicher noted the Lafayette Hotel is perennially sold out with a waiting list.

“That’s a substantial loss right there,” he remarked. “Put 25,000 people downtown and they have to eat. It would be hundreds of thousands (in incoming revenue).”

¯ ¯ ¯

This isn’t the only local event which has been postponed until next summer.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival was scheduled for June 18-20, but was recently canceled.

Organizers said on the event’s Facebook page that “the time left is too short for us to produce an event of this magnitude with the scale and quality and safety it requires.”

The festival combines music, food and crafts from a variety of cultures and nationalities was also postponed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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