Volunteers at the heart of making our city so great

Marietta residents and visitors were blessed with great events in the past two weekends.

Although there were many many volunteers involved with the events that drew hundreds and hundreds of visitors to our city, several deserve recognition for their incredible investment of time and energy.

Campus Martius and Ohio River Museum volunteer Dennis Cavalier of Fleming organized the amazing Inland Waterways Festival along both the Muskingum and Ohio rivers. Dennis, normally a quiet and shy guy, put in hundreds and hundreds of hours over the past two years to create the opportunity for those who participated in the festival, focused mainly around the Ohio River Museum.

The variety of opportunities for residents and visitors were truly amazing – tours of the $13 million AEP towboat, Muskingum River fish swimming in the 2,200 gallon aquarium and Marietta native Michael Dickinson’s newest painting – were just a few of the options for folks along Marietta’s River Trail.

Of course, Dennis’s wife, Chris, not quite so quiet and shy, also invested lots of time and energy and even weeded the 15 flower beds she has planted along that section of River Trail. While the Inland Waterways was happening, the Marietta Main Street volunteers had things hopping for another successful Harmar Days.

Then this weekend, we had a dazzling array of activities surrounding the third annual Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival. Marietta Adventure Co. owner Ryan Smith, shop manager, Hallie Taylor, who usually work six and seven days a week anyway exposing people to the wonders of our rivers and wild areas, literally worked from sun up to way after sundown everyday for weeks. Eyes watering from lack of sleep, they never were without smiles and enthusiasm for the growing event that included outdoor adventures for those of all sizes, shapes and abilities. Some took recreational toots around Marietta’s historic cemeteries, mounds and streets while others pounded up and down hills on thread-like tracks on Marietta’s more than 15 miles of trails and in Wayne National Forest and Mountwood Park in West Virginia. Others rolled up and down the hills along country roads.

While hundreds road, paddled and walked, others gathered in East Muskingum Park where retired museum historian and now volunteer Bill Reynolds led the charge of the Brigade of the American Revolution Encampment. Between women sewing and men musket firing and bucket making,

People got a glimpse of life in 1785 – tent camping, wood fires, water hauling, surveying and tales of birthing.

And finally, if our little cow town didn’t have enough going on, Friends of the Lower Muskingum Director Jessie Daubert and Friends intern Steve Williamson oversaw boats, boats and more boats (I think some of them were boats) in the Fifth Annual Great Raft Regatta. 29 contraptions of all sizes and descriptions were joined by dozens upon dozens of kayaks, canoes and other floating things – including motor boats and cabin cruisers for a fabulous Sunday afternoon on the Muskingum.

Thanks to all of these named folks and the dozens of other volunteers who have made historic Marietta the obvious place to be over the past two glorious weekends. Volunteers like these are the heart of our community.

Roger G. Kalter