Those who can't find something to do in Marietta this weekend aren't looking very hard.
With the annual Brick Street BBQ event, ColonyFest Kid's Zone and the kick-off to the summer Merchants and Artist walks, there is something for everyone.
The Merchants and Artist Walk, sponsored by ReStore Marietta, will be held beginning at 6 p.m. Friday evening. The summer-long event is also the unofficial start to a summer packed full of events, from Riverfront Roar to Rivers, Trails and Ales, all leading up to the big bang of the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival in September.
"This really is our busy time and we don't slow down until January," said Mallory Greenham, executive director of ReStore. "The Merchants and Artist Walk is a great way for artisans to display their work. We will have someone doing portraits, a chainsaw artist, pottery, jewelry ... really anything you can think of."
Around 30 merchants will be participating and will team up with various artists or musicians.
Greenham is also busy preparing for the annual Brick Street BBQ competition and added that ReStore has partnered with the Colony Theatre this year to help administer the contest.
If you go
Merchants and Artist Walk
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.
Where: Downtown Marietta, Front to Third streets, Armory Square and Harmar Village.
For information: www.restoremarietta.org or (740) 885-8194.
Brick Street BBQ
When: Starts Friday, 5 p.m.; wraps up with awards ceremony, 5 p.m Saturday.
Where: Parking Partners lot, Second Street between Putnam and Butler.
Cost: Tasting tickets are one for $1 or six for $5. VIP tickets are available through ReStore, the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, American Flags and Poles and Schafer Leather.
For information: www.facebook.com/brickstreetbbq
Brick Street BBQ schedule
5 to 11 p.m. - Grounds open.
6 to 8 p.m. - Miss Brick Street BBQ and Moustache King Competition.
9 p.m. -Crowning ceremony.
9:30 to 10:30 p.m. - Burning Dawn live fire performance.
9 to 11 a.m. - Motorcycle and Auto Tour.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Grounds open; Marietta-Washington County CVB Scavenger Hunt.
2:30 to 4:30 p.m. - People's Choice Awards and Tasting.
5 to 6 p.m. - Awards ceremony.
ColonyFest Kid's Zone
When: Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Putnam Street between Third and Second streets.
Details: Inflatables, magicians, musicians, face painting and more; tours of the Colony Theatre will be at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 p.m.
1 p.m. - Children's Cello and Violin Ensemble.
2 p.m. - High Schools That Rock.
2:40 p.m. - Magician Steve Dixon (photo above).
3 p.m. - Juggler Bob Whitcomb, World's Strongest Juggler.
4 p.m. - Children's Folk Songs with Todd Burge.
5 p.m. - Stacy's Dance Studio.
"They have a lot of renovations going on so they were looking for an organization to take it over," Greenham said.
Hunt Brawley, director of development for the Hippodrome/Colony Theatre Association explained the reason for the partnership.
"We thought we'd be in the thick of something more intense in the sense of putting a funding package together," he said. "Brick Street was a lot of work and we were worried about being able to do it ourselves so it was a huge help for us for ReStore to move in."
The competition begins Friday at 5 p.m. and will include competitors from all over Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and as far as Florida.
Brick Street BBQ is an official Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned event. Marietta is the first stop in the Ohio BBQ Triple Crown Series. The other events are held in Kettering, Xenia and Neslonville.
KCBS representative Steve Grinstead has been involved with the society for a number of years and will be on hand once again at Brick Street to make sure everything is on the up and up.
"We are like the referees," he said. "We make sure everyone is following the rules."
He said that barbecue competition is becoming a growing sport and a family-oriented event.
"If everything happens, there will be over 400 events this year," he said.
Marietta resident Henry Leimkuehler, 42, is attending Brick Street as a competitor for the first time this year. His business venture, Smokin Pigs Ash, is two years old.
"I've always liked to cook," he said. "It's mainly a hobby but I cook on site for birthdays, graduations, things like that."
Leimkuehler participated in Nelsonville last year and placed 17 out of 37. He has even taken steps to become a KCBS judge.
"They asked me to judge (Brick Street BBQ) this year but I was already signed up as a participant," he said.
Leimkuehler said the competition at KCBS events is pretty intense. The four categories include pork ribs, chicken, beef brisket and pork, which can be pulled, sliced or however the chef wants to present it. All entries will be judged on appearance, taste and tenderness.
Judges from Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio and points in between will have their work cut out for them with at least 29 registered competitors hoping to nab a portion of the $10,000 purse. Smokin Pigs Ash will also be going up against other local teams, Blacksmith BBQ, Brutus and Company, Hey You BBQ, Spirit World Smoke Shak and Myers Bar-B-Q-Co. Last year's overall winner was SauceHound BBQ from Watertown, Mass.
Along with new competition and a new sponsor, another event will be added to this year's festivities. The first Miss Brick Street BBQ and Moustache King Competition will be sponsored by Schafer Leather. The cost to enter this light-hearted contest is $10 and proceeds will benefit ReStore downtown beautification projects.
Brick Street BBQ wraps up on Saturday with the awards ceremony at 5 p.m.
Also on Saturday, the annual ColonyFest Kid's Zone event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. and will feature music and magicians as well as face painting and inflatables. The event will be held on Putnam Street in front of the Colony Theatre, where tours will be held at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 p.m.
"It'll be fun," Brawley said. "The Colony will be as stripped down as it will ever be and (people) will get to see the bones, the skeleton of the building."