Annual sternwheel regatta festival continues strong in light of pandemic


POMEROY, OH (WOWK) – Several festivals across the tristate have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one festival in Pomeroy, Ohio was still going strong.

The city of Pomeroy sits right on the edge of the Ohio River and one of the area’s popular pastimes is watching boats going up and down the river.

This weekend, several bigger boats came to the city for a visit.

All with unique names, the large Sternwheel boats came out for “Pomeroy’s Annual Sternwheel Regatta Festival.”

We get together with the sternwheel boats and it’s kind of a reunion for us. It’s a vacation, a trip on the river.

Bill Prace, owner of the “Lauren Elizabeth”

Bill Prace owns one of the largest sternwheels in the regatta, the “Lauren Elizabeth.” He says they travelled several hours from East Liverpool, Ohio to get to the festival, but the trip was well worth it.

The sternwheel boats came from all over the tri-state, but the larger vessels weren’t the only boats in the regatta. Owners of small boats, both new and old, also joined in the festival on the riverfront.

Boat owners Steve and Karlena Wandling say they both enjoy the river and admiring the other unique vessels. For them, this festival brings a little “normal” back into their life.

We just like coming and looking at the boats. It’s kind of like a normal to this chaos.

Karlena Wandling, Gallipolis resident/boat owner

The festivities were shortened this year due to the pandemic and restrictions on large gatherings. But for those in the regatta and local businesses in the area, this was a much-needed event.

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