Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 18, 1976 · Page 75
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July 18, 1976

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 75

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, July 18, 1976
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Page 75
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Festival to Salute a River Ravenswood kicks off 7th river celebration and judging from the week-long program it's going to be a big event. By Harold C.Gadd Ravenswood, geared up for its fifth -- or seventh -- Ohio River Festival, kicked off eight days of celebration yesterday with a horse show. Today there will be a fishing and casting contest sponsored by the Bass Masters Assn., but the real show today will be the appearance of the International Water Follies, world-famous water and stage show that was the big hit of the Brussels World's Fair and Expo 74 at Spokane, Wash. There will be two performances of the follies -- at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. -- in the world's largest portable pools and stage. Altogether, the' pools and stage measure 150 feet in length, contain over 1,700 pieces of metal and lumber, and it takes a crew of 12 technicians between 6 and 8 hours to assemble the big diving tank and swimming pool. (It also takes between three to four hours to take it down.) The follies feature world-champion, spectacular divers, a water ballet, stage and water production numbers, singing and dancing stars, amazing lighting effects, and five of the nation's outstanding diving and water comedians. The Ohio River Festival first was launched in September, 1935, under the direction of Sen. R.E. Ritchie. It was dedicated to preserving the history of the river and to bringing attention to the potential of the Ohio Valley. Strangely, it was too successful. 6m CHARLESTON. W.VA. When the festival was repeated in 1936, the crowds that flocked in to participate swamped the town. At that time, Ravenswood had a population of 900 -- and not nearly enough hotels, motels, and restaurants for all the visitors. After the festival was over in 1936, bone-tired residents of Ravenswood knew they had bitten off more than they could chew. The festival was put in mothballs for 36 years. Then, in 1972, with three decades of amazing growth to give them renewed confidence, Ravens- wood promoters tackled the river festival again. That time it went smoother and was enjoyable not only for those who came to see, but s also for those who had to work behind the scenes. Ravenswoos's Ohio River Festival is family entertainment -something for everyone. Tomorrow, July 19, there will be a band and choral concert, plus a barbecue in the park. Tuesday, July 20 , will include a teen dance with the "Sapphire Haze." Wednesday, July 21, the West Virginia University Symphonette will be in attendance. Thursday, July 22, there will be square dancing with country and western music. Friday, July 23, Boy Scouts of Ravenswood and surrounding areas will race across the Ohio River in canoes. Also, Queen Daphne Vll will be crowned and there will be a fireworks display. Mrs. Jean Morley will direct an outdoor pageant "Beautiful River." Saturday, July 24, there will be a parade, ski show by the Athens Boat and Ski Club, APBA-sanc- tioned outboard boat races, plus entertainment by Ava Barber of the Lawrence Welk Show, and music by a group that calls itself "Life" -- 11 boys and girls who combine music, humor, and a message with professional polish and warmth. The Queen's Ball in the NYA Hall will climax the day. Sunday, July 25, there will be sky diving, more APBA-sanctioned outboard boat racing, community vespers, and other events. ·July 18. 1976. Sundav Gazette-Mail

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