Festival and Fireworks Go On

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The water was still high but the atmosphere was still fun Friday afternoon at the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival, but the entertainment won't be at the same location.

"We can't get to the barge because of the high water, so we had to move some staging up to the intersection of Second and Greene Street," says festival director-general John Coppernoll, "and that's where all the entertainment will take place this year."

Still, the fireworks display, which always draws the festival's largest crowds, will go on as scheduled. Organizers say the barge where the displays are launched can still be located at a safe site on the river.

"They're going to get the fireworks on the barge, and a tugboat is going to bring the fireworks up an hour before the display," Coppernoll says. "The tug will hold it in place while the show goes on."

Marietta city leaders and festival officials also have a plan to deal with one of the biggest problems of the festival, the traffic leaving the site after the fireworks end.

"We've tried to coordinate with the Marietta City Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff's Department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Marietta College campus public safety," says Marietta Mayor Michael Mullen, "to get some personnel on board, and at those intersections to manually move the traffic through and expedite that."

One other thing festival officials are doing to help the traffic flow, is scheduling live entertainment following the fireworks display so fewer people will be leaving the festival site right away.