GREENVILLE — The rain stayed away for the most part, but the heat didn’t. However, The Annie Oakley Festival went off without a hitch this weekend.
JoEllen Melling, president of the Annie Oakley Committee, will attest to that.
“It was a fantastic festival and parade,” Melling said. “Vendors have been thrilled and the people are happy. I have received a lot of good comments and people say they are appreciative of the parade.”
She and her sister, Jennifer Peck, second vice president on the committee, organized the parade, in which Mr. and Mrs. Dave Plessinger were honorary parade marshals.
Both women subsequently made their way from the Darke County Fairgrounds to downtown from where they announced it.
“We did something different,” she said. “We had the honor guard in the lead and we opened with prayer, sang the National anthem and said the pledge to the flag.”
She said there were close to 2,000 people attending Saturday’s event and already had 1,800 counted when contacted for this information early Sunday afternoon.
The main attraction, she felt, was Darke County’s own Jesse Peters, a licensed Parelli Horsemanship Professional, 4-star senior instructor, and horse specialist, who works to improve the relationship and communication between horse and rider through the Parelli method.
He put on six shows during his performance at Annie Oakley Festival.
Offering admission and parking free for the festival was undoubtedly another factor that attributed to the high attendance this year.
“It was good for those family with kids, and people didn’t have to walk far to get on to the festival area,” Melling said. “When I returned to the grounds, I was pleased with the line of traffic in front of me that turned into here [at York Woods].”
She said Gery Deer’s show on Saturday was a success and indicated he may return next year for two or three days.
The Ohio Cardinal Semi-Pro Football Team arrived again on Sunday and did a meet-and-greet with children, their parents and other festival-goers.
All weekend, featured were fun and games for the whole family, demonstrations, story times, fast-draw competitions, shoot-out and historical bus tours, not to mention the flea markets. On Sunday, there was a talent show and the fourth annual Annie Oakley Car Show.
Entertainment throughout the weekend included Country Harmony [comprised of Melling and Peck], Spittin’ Image, Flashback and Thien Snips as well as each day, the melodrama.
“We had more concessions with a variety of food,” Melling said. “I give all the praise to the community and all our sponsors. They are what made it free and it will remain free as long as there is this support.”
Events prior to the actual festival’s opening was the competition for the Miss Annie Oakley title, this year won by Mariana Ramos. The pilgrimage to Brock Cemetery, Oakley’s burial site, took place on Thursday evening following the finals. This year’s essay winners read their essays at that ceremony. hose winners were Isabelle Rammel, St. Mary’s School, first; Libby Fox, Franklin Monroe Elementary, second; and Selene Weaver, Franklin Monroe Schools, third.