For a few years, Ryan Smith has been "tossing around" the idea of a festival that would be geared towards a young, physically active and socially active audience.
"I started talking to a few other people in town that wanted to see an event like that happen and it started to pick up some momentum and we pulled the trigger on it," said Smith, of Marietta.
Their idea has come to fruition in the Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival, which will be held in Marietta Thursday through Sunday. The event is being sponsored by The Anchor, the Anderson Medical Group and ReStore Marietta.
"We want to highlight all the great natural attributes of our area and the recreational opportunities with the backdrop of our great city of Marietta here," Smith said.
With a schedule chock-full of all sorts of activities, the event promises to offer something for everyone.
"Most of the events will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday," Smith said. "The only thing we're having Thursday night is a kick-off party at the Marietta Brewing Company."
Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival:
9 p.m. Thursday - Event kickoff at the Marietta Brewing Company, 167 Front St.
9 a.m. Friday and Saturday - Event headquarters opens on the Armory lawn on Front Street, where there will be information for that day's bike rides and paddling events. Participants can pick up directions and head out on their own or meet up to go with a group at 10 a.m.
9 a.m. Saturday - The MOV'n Dragons will offer dragon boat rides beginning at the Marietta College boathouse on Gilman Street.
5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday - Events on the Armory lawn, broadcast live by WMOA radio, including tortoise and the hare races, bungee run tournaments, acoustic band performances, and other demonstrations.
7 p.m. to midnight Friday and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday - Live music performances at various venues in downtown Marietta.
Sunday: 10 a.m., pygmy boat parade on the Muskingum River; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., pygmy boat show on the Armory lawn; 1 p.m., paddle with pygmy boaters on the Muskingum River; 2 p.m., Muskingum River raft race.
For information, visit www.rtafest.com
The event headquarters opens on the Armory lawn on Front Street at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday. There, folks can get information about paddling events and mountain and road biking rides that are scheduled for that day.
Participants can either go out on their own or meet up with a group at 10 a.m. those days. Rides will be held at the Wayne National Forest, as well as other places.
"There will be opportunities for all levels - beginner, intermediate and advanced," Smith said.
Also at 9 a.m. Saturday, the Mid-Ohio Valley dragon boat organization, the MOV'n Dragons, will offer dragon boat rides beginning at the Marietta College boathouse on Gilman Street.
From 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, there will be bungee run tournaments, acoustic band performances, tortoise and the hare races and other demonstrations.
"That'll be a team event on bicycles - that should be pretty funny," Smith said of the tortoise and the hare races.
Also as part of the festival, a slew of musicians will perform at various times and at various places. Among them are Fletcher's Grove, Chemical Valley, Sacra Via and Resurrect 27.
"Friday and Saturday night in town, a lot of our sponsoring venues around town will be featuring special regional beers on tap and will have extra entertainment and things happening," Smith said.
The Marietta Brewing Company is among the places where musicians will perform and where special regional beers will be on tap, according to owner Tony Styer.
"We're going to have beers here that normally aren't here from other microbreweries," Styer said. "Thursday night at 9 we're going to tap a peanut butter cup coffee porter from a Willoughby, Ohio brewing company."
He said beers from other Ohio brewing companies will also be available.
Those who attend the festival will have many chances to walk away with prizes, Smith said.
"All the festival activities are free and open to the public but we'll have a special VIP pass you can get for $20 that will entitle you to discounts at several different merchants in the city," he said. "It will also enter you into a giveaway for a Perception kayak paddle and life jacket as well as a Trek mountain bike as well as a bunch of other items we have to giveaway."
A pygmy boat parade and Muskingum River raft race are among the events that are scheduled for Sunday.
"I really feel like the event is filling a void," Smith said. "A lot of people have wanted to see something like this happen in town for a long time and a lot of people are excited it's coming."