Sternwheelers Roll on the River Into Wheeling for Annual
12 September 2014
By Scott McCloskey, Staff Writer
WHEELING -With a cool breeze blowing off the Ohio River on
Thursday afternoon, local pipefitter Russell Ostendorf and Doris
Layne of Roanoke, Va. danced to the music of the Buffington
Brothers near a row of sternwheelers docked at Wheeling's Heritage
The vessels are docked at the port as part of the annual
Sternwheel Festival, which celebrates the river and city's
heritage. The event got under way Thursday and continues through
Ostendorf said he and Layne decided to enjoy a bit of dancing near
the waterfront after stopping down at Heritage Port to see what
the festival was about.
Ed Biega, president of the Sternwheel Festival committee, said
each year the committee tries to build on the festival, which
began 12 years ago.
"We're hoping to get a nice crowd," Biega said. "We started this
in 2002 and we had a lot of people involved."
Biega said the committee would like to see more local people get
involved with festival to help make it bigger each year. He said
the festival celebrates the heritage of the river and gives people
an opportunity to take an up-close look at the vessels and hear
The Sternwheel Festival is sanctioned by the American Sternwheel
Association, an organization dedicated to the support and
promotion of sternwheel vessels. Biega said most of the
sternwheelers docked at this festival were built by the owners.
The Wheeling event is patterned after a number of other festivals
that take place each summer up and down the Ohio River.
In addition to the sternwheelers themselves, the festival offers
musical entertainment, several dozen food and craft vendors,
amusement rides and a fireworks display Saturday night. The
festival opens at 11 a.m. today and 11:30 a.m. Saturday.