Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival Returns as RTA Lite

The beloved Rivers, Trails, and Ales (RTA) Festival returns to Marietta this week in a new form: RTA Lite! Held on this Friday, August 13th and Saturday, August 14th, the festival invites outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill level to participate in bikes, hikes, paddles and more.

With COVID-19 social distancing guidelines in place through early summer, the RTA advisory team made quick work to adapt their festival format to provide safe, family fun.

“We only had a few months to plan things out once it was announced we could hold an event,” said Eric Dowler, Festival Director. “Thus, our team took a super simple and low effort approach to put activities together.”

Cyclists heading out for a group ride in downtown Marietta (Nate Knobel)

RTA Lite is a condensed version of the full Rivers, Trails, and Ales Festival folks have experienced in the past. “We won’t be selling new merchandise, registering people for volunteer-led events, or hosting an outdoor beer fest,” said Dowler. “We’re calling activities ‘self-guided’ meaning RTA will not be formally registering, organizing, and leading the activity. There are publicized times for folks to get together and adventure on a ride/paddle/hike as a group or on your own.”

We are abundantly fortunate with two rivers, miles of beautiful trails, amazing county roads, and a very active and positive downtown community.

Eric Dowler, Festival Director

This year’s festival includes 14 activities over a two day schedule – “which is crazy considering we usually have 70+ events over three and a half days,” said Dowler. There will be yoga each morning in addition to designated times for people to get together to paddle, mountain bike, road ride, and hike.

Kayaks during Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival
Paddlers go through the Devola Lock (Bruce Wunderlich)

“There are a few establishments downtown hosting ale events, including the Marietta Brewing Company, Over the Moon Pub & Pizza, and Town House,” Dowler added. Festivities kicked off Tuesday evening at the House of Wines with an awesome pairing dinner with Outerbelt Brewing. The menu and ales will be available through Saturday for festivalgoers.

Even though this year’s festival is smaller than years past, Dowler said the spirit of the festival carries on through people taking time to be outside and enjoy the beauty Marietta has to offer all year round.

Ten years in, RTA festival continues to highlight Marietta’s rich outdoor recreation. “Many people and organizations make this such an easy task for RTA,” said Dowler. “We are abundantly fortunate with two rivers, miles of beautiful trails, amazing county roads, and a very active and positive downtown community. Outdoor recreation in the area has surged over the last ten years and we absolutely expect that momentum to continue for another twenty!”

Photographed by Nathaniel Knobel

Dowler encourages festivalgoers to make their experience a memorable one by trying something new this year. “Start your day off with a yoga session by the river and see what the day brings you from there.”

Those interested in participating can find a list of events at rtafest.com and on the RTA Festival Facebook page. Happy Trails!