GREENVILLE — The sway of tent flaps, the boom of cannon fire, and the smell of delicious food greeted visitors to the annual Gathering at Garst, held Saturday and Sunday on the grounds of the Garst Museum.
Perhaps best yet for eventgoers, Saturday’s conditions were sunny, in contrast to the wet weather which has thus far drenched Darke County through most of July.
“We’ve been really fortunate with the weather,” said Museum Director Clay Johnson. “The weather is always a concern, but it worked out to our benefit this year.”
While Saturday’s weather was a “win,” the forecast called for a potential thunderstorm Sunday morning, but with sunny skies returning through Sunday afternoon.
The Gathering at Garst offered something enjoyable for everyone who attended.
New at the gathering this year was the Lewis & Clark Trailside Tavern, where eventgoers (21 years of age and older) could try out craft beers such as a “Blue Moon” or a “Sharpshooter.”
As well, Annie Oakley, “Little Sure Shot,” marked her first appearance at the gathering. Oakley, in full period dress, was portrayed by Cathy Wagner of Brown Deer, Wisconsin.
Visitors were also able to meet pioneer legend Daniel Boone, portrayed by Steven Caudill of Winchester, Kentucky.
Attendees to the gathering had an opportunity to try many different foods and desserts, and shop for a variety of items, such as clothing, jewelry, soaps, candles, maple syrup, wood carvings and metal craft goods.
As in its museum, history takes center stage at the Gathering at Garst. The outdoor event features a living history encampment, where visitors can see up close how people lived over the course of many generations, from Darke County’s early pioneer days to the Civil War era.
Reenactors portraying soldiers and Indians camped out in tents on museum grounds and provided visitors with demonstrations of life in earlier days, including the firing of cannon and muskets. Merchants of vintage and reproduction goods were also on hand at the encampment selling their wares.
“Our living history encampment has really grown over time,” said Johnson.
By all accounts, the festival appeared to be well attended. Johnson remarked that, judging from what he had observed, he expected the weekend attendance totals could be 10,000 or more.
“We’re hoping to have that many, if the weather holds out.” he said.
Admission to the event was free, made possible with the help of many local sponsors.
In addition to those sponsors, Johnson wished to extend his gratitude to the many volunteers who contributed to the success of the gathering.
“I’m amazed at the volunteer growth,” he said. “This year, we had about 70 volunteers helping us out. It speaks highly of the community. Putting this together is a yearlong process, with much time and effort involved.”
The Garst Museum, named 2015’s “Best Historical Museum” by Ohio Magazine, is located at 205 N. Broadway in Greenville. For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.garstmuseum.org.