The Rally on the River event yesterday was a big success and lots of fun. It was such an honor to get to be a part of such a special day. Much thanks to hosts Leah Ann and Randy Ingram for such a terrific event and for all their efforts on behalf of the Delta Queen. They work tirelessly to preserve the boat and to make sure she remains in Chattanooga to be cared for, cherished, and open to the public. On a crisp and lovely autumn afternoon, dedicated volunteers welcomed visitors aboard and gave tours of this fascinating National Historic Landmark. Steam was brought up enough to rotate the paddlewheel and that beautiful sight filled me with a wave of nostalgia. Travis Vasconcelos played the calliope, the whistle blew and we all felt like a bunch of kids having a play day! It was an absolute blast.

The evening event was fantastic. Guests enjoyed several food stations around the Delta Queen and aboard the visiting Belle of Cincinnati docked alongside. Each station had different delectable treats prepared fresh by a team of talented chefs. Each station had wines paired to complement the culinary treats. Dessert was served in the Orleans Room and Laura and I performed our “Delta Queen: A Musical Journey” show chronicling the Delta Queen’s amazing adventures and many songs we’ve uncovered written about the boat. A silent auction also helped raise additional funds. All these proceeds go toward the establishment of a non-profit organization to raise private funds for the maintenance and preservation of the Delta Queen. There are even grand goals of purchasing the boat from its current owners (former cruise operators Ambassadors International) to make certain the boat stays in Chattanooga and its historical integrity is protected.

We’ll keep you posted as things progress.

Here’s a little video we put together with some highlights from the November 4 afternoon events: