Last updated: July 25. 2014 3:22PM - 231 Views
By Marilyn Delk

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Darke County Center for the Arts exists to promote the arts and encourage cultural enrichment in our community. But DCCA is far from being the only local entity offering culturally enriching activities; in fact, so many opportunities exist that you probably cannot attend them all. But you can have a whole lot of fun attempting to participate in as many entertaining, educational and enriching local events as possible.

Tonight, historic Bear’s Mill will host a festive reception from 6 until 9, featuring photographer Paula Willmot Kraus and decoy carver Laurel Dabbs, whose work will be on display in the Mill’s gallery space through Aug. 24. The artists will speak about their work, methods and inspiration at 7 p.m., and be on hand throughout the evening to discuss whatever is on the minds of attendees. A regular feature of “Art at the Mill,” the opening night reception is a classy party that attracts visitors from all over the region. The art is always interesting and striking and often beautiful and fascinating, the enticing food is pretty as a picture and incredibly savory (or sweet, depending), and the Mill’s timeless aura is welcoming and seductive, connecting visitors to the building’s rich history and the natural beauty of its unspoiled surroundings.

And then, the Gathering at Garst takes place this Saturday and Sunday. Cultural enrichment springs to life in many forms at this event on the grounds of the Garst Museum. In addition to the treasure trove of artifacts and information to be found within the museum, a Living History encampment demonstrating this area’s history from the time of the French and Indian War through the War Between the States will offer an entertaining learning experience for all ages. While discovering our local heritage, visitors to the Gathering can stroll through the grounds perusing the work of regional artists and craftspeople and the wares of vendors offering food, antiques, plants and garden décor. Talented local performers will entertain throughout each day, with Beatles tribute band The Cavern Beat taking the stage at 7 p.m. on Saturday. DCCA will be among the non-profit organizations exhibiting at the Gathering; (stop by the DCCA booth and find out about all the exciting performances DCCA will present throughout the coming year). The Gathering opens at 10 a.m. tomorrow, and continues on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Native American Peace and Friendship Summit, a program of the Darke County Park District sharing the history of those who originally lived in what is now our community and commemorating the second Treaty of Greenville is also taking place this weekend in the Prairie Ridge Meadow Park (on Wilson Drive in Greenville). These festivities that opened with a banquet at the Shawnee Prairie Nature Center last evening and continued today with the grand opening of a new structure reproducing “The Bowery” where the treaty was signed on animal skins in 1814 will essentially merge with the Gathering on Saturday and Sunday, although they are two separate cooperating events located in very close proximity to one another.

All of this activity could create cultural overload, but there’s even more to do this weekend. In addition to stellar entertainment and performances of Darke County CivicTheatre’s melodrama, the Annie Oakley Festival will be offering 90-minute tours of historic Greenville that include a trip to Brock Cemetery where Annie and her husband Frank Butler are laid to rest. The air-conditioned bus will leave the York Woods festival grounds at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. tomorrow, and at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday for a close-up look at the places where our community’s history was created.

Oh, and the concert at Greenville City Park on Sunday night will feature music by our local Jazz Band directed by maestro extraordinaire J. R. Price. I could go on about cultural enrichment in our community, but space does not permit lauding the many events occurring after this weekend. We may not live in a busy metropolitan area, but we certainly enjoy a dizzying array of fun-filled events that also celebrate our heritage and culture.

Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at marilynd@bright.net. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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