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Riverboat visits

Jul. 27, 2014 @ 10:00 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Sunday afternoon, Corey Kincaid and Brittany Mynes' ship came in.

Back in the winter, Kincaid joked that if he won the lottery, the two, who love to boat together, would get a "big boat" and somehow get married on the river.

After some research, Kincaid found out the dream place for their wedding was possible. The Belle of Cincinnati was doing its annual cruise up the Ohio River, stopping off in a string of river cities such as Maysville and Ashland in Kentucky, to Portsmouth and Gallipolis in Ohio, to Huntington and Point Pleasant in West Virginia.

On Sunday afternoon at Harris Riverfront Park, the couple and their wedding party joined the Belle's public sightseeing cruise for photos before the couple's 6 p.m. ceremony that drew over 80 folks to enjoy the ceremony, the dinner and a wedding cake with a frosting of riverboat rope around it.

The couple was joined by dozens and dozens of other riverboat fans of all ages Sunday afternoon as the Belle slow rolled up the river to the East End Bridge then back down past the Robert C. Byrd Bridge before turning back into Harris Riverfront Park.

Jamie Gump, pastor of Madison Avenue Christian Church, and his wife, Carol, invited 11 friends for the sight-seeing cruise as a thank-you for help with an ongoing home renovation project.

Carol, who used to live in Louisiana and cruise on the Mississippi, said when they heard the boat was rolling through, they thought it was a great way to say thanks in a fun way.

Connie McCagg said it was a recent trip to California with her grandsons Ian McCagg, 4, and Jared McCagg, 6, that spurred the idea for Sunday's riverboat ride.

She said they saw a sternwheel riverboat in a harbor out in California, and one of the boys asked if "Mammaw could get them a ride on a riverboat."

"If they want it, Mammaw gets it done," McCagg said with a laugh. "This is just an awesome activity, so wholesome and clean. It's beautiful to see your own shores, as they are as beautiful as anything on the West Coast."

Toward the end of the cruise, passengers who enjoyed Capt. Alan Bernstein's steady stream of interesting river and riverboat history got to join him for pictures and tour the pilothouse that sits high above the upper deck.

In between letting riverboat fans take the wheel of the three-deck-high riverboat, Bernstein said they've had a ball rolling up the river and into the charming towns that dot the Ohio River.

"I remember last year we were in Point Pleasant, and a policeman pulls up and I'm like, 'Oh no.' He said, 'This city hasn't had a traffic jam in 25 years, and it's all because of you,' " Bernstein said with a laugh. "I said, 'We willl gladly take the blame.' For us, it's fun to get out and these cities like Huntington, Ashland, Portsmouth, they're great places to go, and our visits create some excitement when we are pulling in."

If you missed the Belle's cruises out of Ashland and Huntington over the weekend, there's still a chance to get on the boat.

Bernstein is slow rolling the Belle (it takes about 7 to 7 1/2 hours to get up to Point Pleasant), where they are doing a benefit dinner cruise with entertainment in conjunction with the Point Pleasant River Museum.

There is a public cruise in Gallipolis on Tuesday before the boat slowly rolls back down river to the southern side of Cincinnati at Newport, Kentucky. There is one day of cruises set for Maysville, Kentucky, on the way back.

While there will be a slew of themed cruises out of its homeport in Cincinnati, the Belle won't make another river road trip until the fall when it joins five other riverboats for the epic Centennial Festival of Riverboats, which takes place Oct. 14-19.

The Centennial Festival of Riverboats will mark the 100th anniversary of the Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating Mississippi-style steamboat in the world. While the Belle will be the main attraction, other riverboats will join the festival. Those include the Belle of Cincinnati, the River Queen (Cincinnati), the Spirit of Peoria, the American Queen (Memphis) and the Spirit of Jefferson (Louisville).

Board the Belle

BB Riverboats' Belle of Cincinnati is doing its annual summer cruise along the Ohio through July 31. With stops along the way in cities including Gallipolis, Ohio, Huntington, Portsmouth, Ohio, Maysville, Kentucky, and Ashland.

Here's a look at the remaining cruises:

Monday, July 28: Point Pleasant, W.Va.

This is a special fundraising dinner cruise for the Point Pleasant River Museum. There will be entertainment, a buffet-style meal and dancing. The cruise is 21/2 hours long, boarding at 6 p.m. and departing at 7 p.m. A photographer will be available for pictures. The boat is handicapped-accessible. Tickets are $50 and $25 for children ages 4-12. Call 304-674-0144, email museum@pprivermuseum.com or visit www.pprivermuseum.com.

Tuesday, July 29: Gallipolis, Ohio

Noon to 2 p.m. Lunch Cruise and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dinner Cruise.

Wednesday, July 30: Maysville, Ky.

7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dinner Cruise.

Thursday, July 31: Maysville, Ky.

Noon to 2 p.m. Lunch Cruise and 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sightseeing Cruise.

COST: Lunch/Brunch Cruises: $37 or $20 (non-meal) and children: $22 ($11 non-meal)). Sightseeing Cruises: $20 and $11 for children. Dinner Cruises: $45 or $24 (non-meal) and children $26 ($17 non-meal).

GET TICKETS: Call 859-261-8500 for reservations or email at Info@bbriverboats.com.

ON THE WEB: www.bbriverboats.com




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