Sternwheelers dock at Charleston Regatta ahead of performances by Kate Boytek, others

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta kicks off Friday, musical artists like Logan County singer and songwriter Kate Boytek are preparing to perform.

Kate Boytek

Botek opens for Jo Dee Messina at 6:30 p.m. Monday and said it’ll be her largest crowd yet.

“I want so much for my intention behind why I do this for a living to come through in every performance, so when you’re magnifying your crowd you feel like that intention needs to be so much stronger to reach everyone. That’s where I think the nerves are coming from,” Botek said while serving as a guest co-host of “580 Live” with Dave Allen on MetroNews affiliate 580-WCHS in Charleston.

Friday’s musical lineup includes The Crunch at 6:30 p.m. and Better Than Ezra at 8 p.m. RedLine opens for Flo Rida Saturday night. Santa Cruz performs before Kool & the Gang Sunday night.

Boytek said she hopes the audience can connect with her music because it’s about life experiences.

“When I went to Nashville, my first producer I was working with said ‘what do you want to write? Do you want to write about something you think could be on the radio or something fun?’ I said ‘no, I want to write about something real’,” she said.

Ahead of her Regatta performance, Boytek released her new music video “Anywhere” Friday. The video was filmed in Charleston.

Growing up with a mother and family members who loved music, Boytek said she knew early on that music was a career she wanted to pursue.

“I think when you are truly connected with music in the way that I am, you kind of always know,” she said.

Performances will be held on the stage situated along the Kanawha Boulevard at Capitol Street.

Del. Scot Heckert (R-Wood)

In addition to food trucks, carnival rides and other activities, event goers will get a chance to see what the Regatta is all about: the sternwheel boats.

Del. Scot Heckert (R-Wood) will be on the PA Denny, a more than 100-year-old sternwheeler boat owned by his mother. He called it a “West Virginia treasure.” The boat is one of 25 other sternwheelers currently docked along the Kanawha River.

Heckert said the PA Denny, which was built in 1930, isn’t like other boats. He said sternwheelers ride at a much slower pace.

“A sternwheel boat is a lot of maintenance. It’s not like a runabout or a pontoon or a houseboat. They’re a lot of maintenance too, but especially a sternwheel boat of this size,” he said on MetroNews affiliate WMOV Radio in Ravenswood.

Heckert said it took two days to get the PA Denny from Parkersburg to Charleston for the Regatta event. He said time spent on the water is peaceful. It runs at a much slower pace, meaning he can take in more of the scenery.

“You hear people talk about their happy place, their place that they relax. When I’m running the boat, I don’t think about anything other than the boat. My outside world just stops,” Heckert said.

The PA Denny will not be offering rides but will be competing in the sternwheeler race on Sunday.

The Sternwheel Regatta runs through Tuesday, July 4. For a full lineup of events, visit