The Red Caboose setting up pop-up arts and craft market for American Queen visit

July 13, 2018

HUNTINGTON — Join The Red Caboose as Huntington welcomes the American Queen steamboat to Huntington on Thursday, July 19.

More than 300 passengers will disembark from the world’s largest riverboat and visit downtown Huntington. To celebrate, the Best Virginia Artisan Market will set up at the Pullman Square pavilion 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

More than a dozen West Virginia artisans will gather as part of this pop-up artist market. The Market artisans will feature handmade jewelry, fine art, home goods, and ceramics. Buy directly from local artists, enter to win prizes, and chat with our American Queen visitors. The event is free and open to the public.

Participating Artists are: Art by Linda — fine art and art prints, Barbara Neal - home goods, Carol Lucas — author, Debra Richardson — fine artist, Eclectic Evelyn - mixed media and jewelry, Jenny Grover — mixed media artist + jewelry, Ken Epperly — polymer clay jewelry, Rainwater Pottery — handcrafted ceramics, The Red Caboose — a variety of local artisan items and Reflection in a Pool — photography.

The American Queen’s stop in Huntington is day five of its nine-day cruise from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Louisville, Kentucky.

This is the third stop in recent years for the American Queen, the majestic six-deck recreation of a classic Mississippi riverboat that is 418 feet long and 89 feet wide.

The American Queen, which will be docked at Harris Riverfront Park in downtown Huntington, has 222 state rooms for a capacity of 436 guests and a crew of 160.

Tyson Compton, president of the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau, said tourism officials are excited to once again host the American Queen and its passengers for a half-day of excursions in the city.

“Last year they came for the afternoon, and this year they are coming for the morning,” Compton said. “Of course, we love this because they come with a boatload of people who come out into the city and explore and who get to see Huntington and have a nice time while they are spending some money here.”

Last year, the boat had 374 passengers when it stopped in Huntington. When the American Queen docked in 2014, there were 158 passengers who stopped to tour the city.

Once on shore, passengers will board American Queen motor coaches that travel with the boat, allowing for “hop-on, hop-off” touring of stops. For this nine-day cruise, the Queen is stopping off at Wheeling; Marietta, Ohio; Huntington; Augusta, Kentucky (home of the late Rosemary Clooney); Cincinnati; Madison, Indiana; and Louisville.

Once the passengers disembark in Huntington at about 8:30 a.m. that day, they will visit a variety of local attractions and venues, including Pullman Square and the downtown shops, Touma Medical Museum, Central City 14th Street Antique District, the Railroad Museum, the Rose Garden at Ritter Park, the Special Collections Library at Marshall University and the Heritage Station shops and CVB.

Passengers also could opt to join the Premium Tour, which takes them to Heritage Farm Museum and Village and Huntington Museum of Art, where they will spend the day.

On each bus will be local volunteer ambassadors, such as well-known author and former radio personality Sheila Redling, who will help give information about the city and answer any questions.

As they did last year, the CVB will roll out the red carpet for the guests, who will be greeted on shore by volunteers as well as some live music on the riverbank.

The CVB and The Red Caboose, the CVB’s gift shop, are also sponsoring a popup artisans market with a dozen or so booths under the shaded canopy at Pullman Square.

“That will give visitors a chance to visit with local artists and purchase their wares if they are interested,” Compton said.

“They call these hop-on, hop-off tours because the buses will circle that same area for those four hours so people, if they want, they can stay at one place longer than another, or if they want to skip one place they can do that.”

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