POINT PLEASANT — Sternwheelers have already started to dock at Riverfront Park in preparation for this weekend’s Tribute to the River.
The annual event, organized by the Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center and supported by companies within the local river industry, begins Friday evening and carries on all day Saturday at Riverfront Park. The event is free and includes exhibits, towboat tours, contests for adults and kids, kid’s games, inflatables and entertainment. Concessions will be available for purchase.
A new addition this year will be Bela and Linda Berty, from Tuscaloosa, Ala., performing as Nicholas and Lydia Roosevelt — the first couple to take a steamboat from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. Bela is also a former pilot for the sternwheeler the PA Denny, which will also be at Riverfront Park. There will also be a dedication of the original telegraph on the PA Denny to the river museum.
Tribute to the River has also grown in popularity with local sternwheelers who travel up and down the rivers to various festivals. These private vessels dock at Riverfront Park and add to the festival’s ambience.
A complete listing of events is as follows:
7 p.m., concession open at Riverfront Park; 8 p.m., local troubadour Paul Doeffinger performs on the Riverfront Park stage.
7 a.m. to 10 a.m., pancake breakfast is served at Christ Episcopal Church on Main Street; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., concessions will be open at Riverfront Park; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., open house tour of American Electric Power’s towboat “The Mountain State”; 10 a.m., Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center opens for tours which includes a towboat simulator and 2,400 gallon Ohio River fish aquarium; tour Tu-Endie-Wei State Park; visit the Mothman and U.S. Navy Poster museums on Main Street as well as Gallery at 409, also on Main Street; also at 10 a.m., sign up for contests at Riverfront Park, including corn hole and line throw contests with events for adults and children; 11 a.m., corn hole contest begins and inflatables are ready at Riverfront Park; noon, kid’s games, WWII game and contests begin, including an art contest for children sponsored by Gallery at 409 which is providing all the supplies; noon to 4 p.m., Riverworks Discovery will be open along the riverfront for presentations; 1 p.m., a presentation on the river will be be given by Cpt. Steve Pearson at the river museum; 2 p.m., the line throw competition begins; 4 p.m., Faye Leport, along with karaoke and open mic begins on the riverfront stage; 6:30 p.m., memorial service for deceased rivermen and river women at Riverfront Park; 7 p.m., presentation of Lifetime Achievement Award at Riverfront Park followed by reenactors Bela and Linda Berty portraying Nicholas and Lydia Roosevelt, the first couple to make the trek from Pittsburgh to New Orleans on a steamboat; 7:45 p.m., prize drawing; 8 p.m., Band of Brothers performs a free concert at Riverfront Park. There will also be a unique fundraiser of one-inch towboat line being sold by the foot to benefit the river museum.
Major participants in the Tribute to the River event include Amherst Madison, AEP River Operations, Kanawha River Navy, American Sternwheel Association, Riverworks Discovery. The City of Point Pleasant also supports the event with facilities and staff.
Though Tribute to the River celebrates all things to do with river life, it doesn’t actually take place “in” the river, so the algae issue, as reported in an adjacent story, will not affect attractions at the event.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites