Ohio River Sternwheel Festival canceled because of pandemic

The Ohio River Sternwheel Festival is postponed until September 2021.
The Ohio River Sternwheel Festival is postponed until September 2021.(WTAP)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 7:00 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - The 2020 Ohio River Sternwheel Festival has been canceled because of the coronavirus, organizers said Thursday.

The annual festival will return in September 2021.

Posted below is a Facebook post from the festival’s Facebook page posted Thursday evening.

“As the Coronavirus pandemic has been unfolding, the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival organizers have been working diligently to find any way possible to host the event this year. Despite our best efforts, it has become clear that we will be required to postpone the 45th Ohio River Sternwheel Festival until September 2021.

While we tried to remain optimistic that there was a path forward, we also deeply value the health and safety of our festival attendees, volunteers, vendors, performers, and the Mid-Ohio Valley area with all its businesses and employees. The Ohio River Sternwheel Festival Board and the Marietta / Belpre Health Department have jointly determined that we cannot adequately ensure the health and safety of 60,000-100,000 individuals in such a small geographic location. This has been a gut-wrenching decision, but we are very appreciative of the kind words and support that we have received from so many!

We also recognize the impact of this cancellation on the community and are actively working on ways that we can still bring snippets of the ORSF spirit to you this year. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the planning for a bigger and better festival next year, please mail your checks to Ohio River Sternwheel Festival P.O. Box 2109 Marietta, OH 45750. This community event is made possible through the generosity of private donations and the support of our amazing corporate sponsors!

As we start to shift our focus to next year, we’re looking to expand our committee. If you have a passion for the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival and are interested in keeping our river town tradition alive, please email for an application.

Thank you for your continued support – we’re so grateful for you and can’t wait to celebrate with you next year!”

Copyright 2020 WTAP. All rights reserved.

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