Mother Nature will hopefully pull out her palette of reds, yellows and oranges this weekend as hundreds are expected to take part in an annual fall foliage tour.
"I think there are probably thousands that take the actual tour and we end up with about 400 to 500 people at stop 9," said Steve Howard, of Whipple, a member of the Little Muskingum Watershed Association (LMWA). "We don't count but I know we usually sell out of food and we order a lot."
Stop 9 is between Wingett Run and Bloomfield at a park run by the LMWA. An antique tractor and equipment show will be held at the park starting Saturday morning into the evening and picking up again Sunday at noon.
"We get all kinds of antique tractors and equipment from all over," said Howard, who admitted that he himself has quite a collection.
This is the 23rd year for the event, which, through food sales, raffles and bingo, serves as the main fundraiser for the LMWA. The association was formed in 1987 to promote the economic development of rural communities within the Little Muskingum River Watershed.
Other events planned for stop 9 include a garden tractor pull, apple butter making, a tractor parade Sunday at 1 p.m., gospel music, antique rock crusher demonstrations, country store, Allen Moore Memorial Pedal Tractor Pull and a turtle race.
If you go
What: Fall Foliage Tour and Antique Engine Show.
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Hog roast dinner Saturday at 2 p.m.
Where: Self-guided driving tour along Ohio 26, beginning at the Washington County Home. Antique engine show at stop 9 between Wingett Run and Bloomfield.
Who: Sponsored by the Little Muskingum Watershed Association
Cost: Tour and show are free; hog roast dinner $7.
1. County Home, 845 County House Lane.
2. Hidden Hills Orchard.
3. Hills covered bridge.
4. Old Sitka Church and cemetery.
5. Bohlen's Dairy Farm.
6. Old Biehl Store and Mail Pouch tobacco barn.
7. Hune covered bridge.
8. Rinard covered bridge.
9. Watershed site with food, antique engine show, games, music and more.
10. Knowlton covered bridge.
A motorcycle poker run is also planned for Saturday with the last bike out at noon.
The self-guided driving tour along Ohio 26 will begin at the Washington County Home on County House Lane in Marietta and will make stops at 10 historic and scenic areas of the county, including several covered bridges.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the southern one-third part of the state should see the most beautiful colors in the next week or so.
"I think this is going to be an exceptionally good weekend - possibly the best - to see the fall colors," said ODNR fall color forester Casey Burdick. "The black walnut and poplar trees are turning yellow, the maples have full red leaves and with the sweetgum, probably my favorite, each individual leaf can have a spectrum of colors from yellow to purple."
This summer's dry weather has caused some leaves, especially along roadways and in residential yards, to start falling off early. However, Burdick said the fall colors are right on schedule and are sure to dazzle drivers at this weekend's event.
"One of the great things about southeast Ohio is that it's hilly, there are a lot of trees and a lot of diversity of colors," she said.