Riverfest returns to Parkersburg

PARKERSBURG, W. Va. (WTAP) - The second annual Riverfest returned to Parkersburg after being cancelled last year due to flooding.

Boaters say they just enjoy life on the river but the Riverfest is really about the history of sternwheels.

Scot Heckert is the founder and chairman of Riverfest.

"The captains are real friendly and they'll answer questions. It's a history lesson really when people come around where the boats are at. Some of these boats were built in 1930," said Heckert.

This father and son duo understands boat history all too well.

John Lehew grew up on the Ohio River in Pomeroy and started building small boats when he was a child. He later passed that tradition on to his son, David.

Together John and David built this boat, The William D; named after David's late grandfather.

They began building the boat back in 2014 and Saturday it is complete and at its second Riverfest.

"David did all the construction of the boat," said John.

John and David don't mind traveling all over the Ohio River for Sternwheel festivals.

"Any obstacles we always come together. I kind of like the comradery of the Sternwheel community we got going on here," said David.

The boat only travels 5 miles an hour, but the Lehew's say, "it's not about the destination, it's about the journey."

David says you can't put a price on the bond him and his dad share or the love they have for boats.

Scot Heckert says the Riverfest committee plans on having more activities for children next year.

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