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Ohio River Sternwheel Festival’s return a success

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - The 45th Ohio River Sternwheel Festival wrapped up the same way the first one did in America’s Bicentennial Year: with paddlewheelers and their captains who came from throughout the region taking part in a series of races.

The COVID-19 pandemic-and the state restrictions on crowds-forced cancellation of last year’s festival. But in 2021, the events were back, as were the spectators-some of the wearing masks.

“Friday night, we were a little down, but we were facing some home football games,” said Cheri Seevers, the festival’s Corporate Finance Chairman. “Saturday night, you couldn’t tell it was different than any other year. We’ve always estimated the attendance at 80-100,000. That might be a little overshoot, but we had an excellent crowd last night.”

Seevers said organizers were concerned whether corporate sponsors would be able to back this year’s festival, but they stepped up, as always.

As usual, the biggest crowds were for Saturday night’s fireworks display, for which people line up all afternoon long.

“We plan to keep on going,” Seevers says. “We want to keep our river heritage alive, and we want to promote tourism in Marietta.”

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