GREENVILLE – “It’s awesome,” said Stephanie Klingshirn of Rossburg on July 25. “The number of vendors they have… it’s awesome,” she repeated. “I’ve already spent too much money.”
Klingshirn is not alone in her view of this year’s Gathering at Garst. Carri Prinkey of Union City dittoed the ‘awesome,’ adding “there’s nothing else like it around.” Husband Ryan agreed it’s great, however he noted most of his money is being spent on food.
Greenville resident Angie Deeter loved the community aspect. “I just love it so much,” she said. “Just getting everybody from the community together is great.”
According to Jenny Clark, coordinator for the event, putting the Gathering together is a massive job, requiring the efforts of 30 committee members and over 100 volunteers. She’s delighted with the success of those efforts. “We’ve got 85 vendors here,” she said. “There are another 30 vendors on the encampment side.” An estimated 10,000 people attended the Gathering in 2014. She anticipated it would be increased this year.
“We have a different theme every year,” Clark said. This year’s theme was ‘Remembering the Heroes & Legends of Darke County,’ including Annie Oakley, Zachary Lansdowne and Lowell Thomas. Next year’s theme will be the role transportation has played in the county’s development.
The Gathering offered events, entertainment, specialty items and food for all ages. Entertainment included Double Eagle, an antique auction at the Lewis and Clark Trailside Tavern Tent, Daniel Boone, the Mad River Light Artillery and much more. Beer was sold for the first time at the new Tavern tent. Visitors were able to meet the new Darke County Visitors Bureau director, Matthew Staugler.
The Gathering also offers increased traffic for the museum. In 2014, over the two-day period, there were 329 visitors and the gift shop experienced record sales.
Children tackled the Light Foundation’s “I Conquered the Gauntlet” challenge. They had to climb over hay bales, crawl through a tunnel and walk across a 6”x6” board. On the other side of the museum, children were tackling the Annie Oakley challenge… trying to shoot a ping pong ball off one or more bottles with rubber band guns. Eight-year-old Corinne Claybaugh got the job done and admitted she liked “being a sharpshooter.”
Will she try for Miss Annie Oakley at the Annie Oakley Festival some day? “Maybe,” she said.
PHOTO CAPTION: Eight-year-old Corinne Claybaugh gets help from mom as she attempts to knock a ping pong ball off a bottle with a rubber band gun. (Bob Robinson photo)