UPDATE: Sternwheel Festival Good For Marietta Businesses

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Update: 9/08/2014 4:15 P.M.

Another Ohio River Sternwheel Festival is in the books...

And the organizers weren't the only ones who were busy this past weekend.

It also kept a lot of Marietta business owners on their toes.

Most tell us it was a good weekend for sales.

One reason? The stormy weather stayed well to our south.

"The weather is key," says Ken Kupsche, owner of The Cook's Shop on Front Street. "If it's raining, people don't come out. No one wants to stand out four or five hours in the rain. We were probably 30% over the same same day last year. Attendance seemed to be up. The crowds were big."

Downtown restaurants were so busy, a wait for a table was as long as a couple of hours.

Business owners tell us they can't wait for next year., when the Sternwheel Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary.


UPDATE 9/5/2014 12:30 PM

Festivities are gearing up for the Sternwheel Festival.

It all kicks off Friday night, but those boats are already packing the river and those chairs and blankets filling the levee.

It's jam packed with a lot of history.

Marietta transforms for one of their biggest festivals of the year, bringing in many tourists from all around.

Lining the street with food vendors, live entertainment and of course, those sternwheel boats.

Even hotels in the area are sold out, some years in advance.

"All of the hotels but two in the area are sold out. The Red Roof Inn still has rooms on Saturday I believe and the Holiday Inn Friday and Saturday, but the rest of them are sold out, so we are going to have quite a turn out. And that's not including some people stay a little further away in Parkersburg or Mineral Wells and then drive in, so it's gonna be a big festival this year," says Christian Hudspeth, with the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

This festival brings in a lot of tourism to the area and those who make it happen are happy to make their trip worth it.

As one attraction ends, another annual one begins.

The Ohio River Sternwheel Festival actually doesn't begin until Friday, but you would never know it by the number of paddlewheelers already docked at the Marietta levee.

A long-time sternwheel captain - a veteran of almost all of the festival's 39 years - says it's all about getting a good spot for the weekend's festivities.

In fact, nearly all of the sternwheelers take in the festival year after year.

Click on the link to the right for more information on this year's Sternwheel Festival.

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