Harmar Days Festival
MARIETTA – Despite ominous predictions of wet, stormy skies, the weather smiled on Harmar Village on Sunday.
Now in its 30th year, the Harmar Days Street Festival wrapped up its final day of crowd-pleasing activities under a mostly sunny sky.
If the Long family, of Beverly, had known how the rain was going to hold off, they might have brought their 1969 Dodge Challenger with them.
“We usually bring a car down, but it didn’t look like it was going to be this nice,” said Scott Long, 36.
The Longs were still happy to be wandering around the festival. Seven-year-old Alexandra Long was proudly sporting the new pink purse she had just purchased as her mom Jill gave her a boost to see inside of some of the old cars lining Fort Street.
The car show was one of the main attractions for the Griffins, who came from Vienna for a bit of “family time,” according to mom Felicia Griffin.
“The car show is a big thing for our family,” as kids Austin, Bryndan, and KloeAnn happily scooped up bites of ice cream along Maple Street.
Another big highlight Sunday was the turning of the Historic Harmar Bridge, which over a hundred people gathered to watch at noon. The bridge turning is what brought John and Connie Boyd up to Harmar from Belpre.
“We’ve never seen it open up before,” said Connie, 73.
Money raised through the country store at Harmar Days helps fund the preservation and restoration of the bridge.
As he watched the bridge turn from the shore, Richard Radcliff, 54, of Parkersburg, shared stories of jumping from the bridge in his youth.
“Just a bunch of us used to come out in the summer. We used to climb up to the top, and that’s the deepest area there, and jump in,” recalled Radcliff.
Radcliff spent plenty of time in Harmar growing up. His mother lived in the area, which is still safe, clean and filled with fun things to do, he said.
The bridge was the star in more ways than one Sunday morning. It was also the backdrop for some of Katelyn Dimmerling’s senior photos.
“I like the bridge and the scenery. It’s pretty,” said the 17-year-old Woodsfield resident.
Dimmerling’s photographer, Tracy Blackstone, said she had no idea the festival was taking place today, but loves Harmar Village as a charming backdrop for photos.
“There’s just endless places to take pictures,” said Blackstone.
If there was a furthest traveled away for the festival, it would probably go to Sally Wilking and her family, who traveled to Marietta all the way from Salt Lake City, Utah, for a family reunion.
“My husband Jim grew up here in Oak Grove,” she explained.
The family passed the festival on the way into town Friday night and decided to make a day of it Sunday.
Sally’s granddaughter, James Wilking, 8, was enjoying the shops in the village.
“I like the store that has stuff that people have found. There’s stuff in there that’s really old,” referring to FOUND Antiques.
Chuck Swaney, the owner of FOUND Antiques and an event organizer, said the weekend has been a huge success. The festival kicked off Friday night with a picnic and karaoke contest and continued Saturday with vendors, entertainment, and perhaps the biggest crowd in event history.
“Saturday was probably our biggest turnout ever,” said Swaney.
There are no official count taken at the free event, but the wall to wall crowds were a good indicator of success.
Mike Smith helped man the Historic Harmar Bridge Transportation Museum over the weekend.
“Between noon and five o’clock (Saturday) we probably had about 250 people go through the museum,” he said.