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6th Annual Appalachia Heritage Luncheon To Be Held in Columbus

By Staff | Dec 14, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio River Ferry Festival is being recognized for its important contribution to Appalachia.

Heritage Ohio in partnership with Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area is hosting the sixth Appalachia Heritage Luncheon today in Columbus.

Eleven organizations and business from the Appalachia region will be honored at the Appalachia Heritage Luncheon for their outstanding work in the Appalachia region for community development and historic preservation.

Sistersville’s ferry has linked two states for nearly 200 years. Thousands of people attended the Ohio River Ferryboat Festival in July.

The ferry had more than 1,300 rides during the festival that had events on both sides of the Ohio River.

“Anything that ferry does where we receive recognition for is all the better for us,” said Captain Herman “Bo” Hause. “This is a good thing for Sistersville and Fly and for the thousands of people who utilize the ferry and who attend the festival each year.”

This year’s twelve-hour festival consisted of music entertainment, historic re-enactors, various food and snack trucks, pro-wrestling by Black Diamond Wrestling, a firefighters’ water battle, a free swim at Sistersville Pool, a dunk tank, and much more. Across the river, more than 100 people listened to music and there was the distinct smell of fried food in the air. According to Alex King, a key festival organizer, there were 1,169 walk-on rides, 127 cars, 10 motorcycles.

The festival was founded through cooperation between Sistersville Councilman King, Janet Witten Conn, who represents Monroe County on the Sistersville’s Ferry Board, and Monroe County Commissioner Mick Schumacher.

“People near and far, and on both sides of the river, had donated their time and money to help get the ferryboat running for the 2015 season,” King said.

“The ferryboat festival was a way to give back to them and celebrate our shared legacy. I originally suggested we hold the first festival in 2016, but I’m glad the other festival founders talked me into taking it on in 2015. We’re looking forward to celebrating the ferry’s 200th year during the 2017 festival.”

Witten Conn represented Monroe County as a member of Ohio’s Bicentennial Committee.

“When Monroe County celebrated its bicentennial in 2014, we were looking for good things to celebrate about our county,” she said. “After we had the ferry festival that first year, we decided to keep it going and do it again. The festival was more successful than we thought it would be and I think it will continue for some years to come. The festival needs the support from people in the community to sustain not only the festival and the ferry. We are kind of surprised that we are going to make a presentation about the festival – we’re only two year old – but so we’re pleased.”

Monroe County Commissioner Mick Schumacher noted not only the collaboration between two states that made the ferry festival possible, but how the festival is being honored with long established places that represent the fiber of Appalachian heritage.

“Looking at the list of the groups and places being honored, it is certainly a big deal,” he said. “A lot of thee honorees have a long and established history. Though the ferry has been around for around 200 years, the festival has only been in place two years. So it is unique and an accomplishment that we are included. Part of that is that the ferry has had such a long history. We are collaborating with West Virginia across state lines. That’s what makes this even more unique.”

The eleven honorees include: Cambridge Glass of Cambridge, Edge of Appalachia of West Union, Nelson T. Gant Foundation of Zanesville, Trumpet in the Land of New Philadelphia, The Quaker Annual Meeting House of Mount Pleasant, Spring Literary Festival of McArthur, Roscoe Village of Coshocton, Buckeye Trails of Shawnee, Ferry Festival of Fly, Village Bakery of Athens and Sewah Studio of Marietta.

Registration is available at www.heritageohio.org.

Heritage Ohio’s mission is helping people to: save the places that matter, build community, and live better. Heritage Ohio is the leading statewide, nonprofit preservation organization, dedicated to encouraging and assisting people and organizations to protect and preserve Ohio’s heritage and cultural resources. Formed in 1989, Heritage Ohio is supported by members ranging from individuals and businesses to organizations and local governments. In addition, Heritage Ohio has been the designated coordinating agency by The National Main Street Center since 1997. Learn more by visiting www.heritageohio.org.

Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area is a nonprofit, membership organization encompassing Appalachian Ohio’s 32 counties and representing the largest state-designated heritage area in Ohio. its goal is to promote heritage activities throughout the region and to provide networking opportunities for individuals, organizations, and communities interested in the preservation and appropriate development of the historical, cultural, recreational, and economic resources of the region.