Marietta’s Fest of Fitness and Ferment
By: Tiffany Goldstein
Marietta will host its annual weeklong Rivers, Trails & Ales Festival starting August 9th and ending the 12th. The festival will celebrate the natural assets of the town. According to the National Geographic Adventure, Marietta was ranked number one in outdoor recreation in the state of Ohio. The city welcomes 2,000 individuals every year to enjoy six trail systems and 200 miles of mountain space where participates have the opportunity to bike, hike and practice water sports.
River Run in Marietta
In 1788, pioneers established Marietta and settled northwest of the Ohio River. Since then, Marietta has become a historical river town that lies at the convergence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers. The location of the town allows the festival to offer lake adventures. Visitors and natives can participate in water activities including a five- to 10- mile Vito Lake paddle quest, a chance to kayak at their own pace down the Muskingum River and the opportunity to test their balance by standing up on a paddleboard during beginner lessons.
Share an Ale
While many like getting their feet wet or taking a hike, some prefer to share an ale. Since Marietta Brewing Co. opened, it has been a major asset to the local community. The company is the primary sponsor of the Rivers, Trails, & Ales Festival and hosts several beer-centric events throughout the weekend.
Tony Styer, owner and advisor of the ales committee of Marietta Brewing Co., says that the brewing aspect of the weekend helps the town’s economy and benefits a local nonprofit with its “Community Pints.” Community Pints allow ale enthusiasts to come together and share pitchers of the best beer at the brewery. The brewery encourages visitors to give back by purchasing a community pint. $1 of every pint sold is donated to the River Valley Mountain Bike Association, which is this year’s highlighted nonprofit.
“We get a lot of visitors, but we also do see familiar faces from Marietta,” Styer says. “We love sharing a craft beer with the members of the community.”
The historical downtown brew pub kicks off the festivities each year by tapping kegs of their signature IPA, “Rock-Drop Single Hop.” On August 12th, the company will host a small beer festival where they feature six in-house ales and Ohio beer.
“We try and focus on only selling Ohio craft beer since we try to promote the perks of Ohio,” Styer says.
While the festival is for all ages, the Marietta Brewing Co. hopes to attract 25- to 54-year-old athletic individuals who like to get out and explore.
According to Marietta Visitor Experience Director Shannon Folts, the festival gets larger and better each year.
“I personally love seeing families and millennials following us on social media and using our hashtag,” Folts says. “I know they are going to come back each year, because what’s not to love about Marietta?”
The vibrant outdoor community is home to some of the most beautiful trails in Ohio. Festivalgoers can ride up a single-track mountain bike trail that weaves throughout Washington County. The Marietta Adventure Company provides the hiking and mountain biking equipment necessary for visitors to enjoy their time.
“We are a family-friendly festival. We love to promote healthy and outdoor lifestyles,” festival manager Eric Dowler says. “The downtown community that is vibrant is waiting to welcome tourist and natives with open arms.”