GREENVILLE — The Annie Oakley Days Festival returned to the Darke County Fairgrounds this weekend after a long absence.
This year’s celebration featured a number of events and attractions, including vendors, musical performances, a car show, a kiddie tractor pull, wiener dog races, a parade through downtown Greenville on Saturday morning, and of course, the annual shooting competition, in which half a dozen Darke County teens competed to be crowned Miss Annie Oakley.
Morgan Hissong, 17, of Bradford, won the competition this year, shooting successfully at a distance of 90 feet. Hissong, now a senior at Franklin-Monroe High School, is the fourth woman in her family to claim the honor. Her aunt, Jenny Schneider, won the title in 1988; her mother, Annie Hissong, in 1992; and her cousin, Hannah Weist, in 2006.
“My mom and I are the first mother and daughter to win the contest, so that’s neat,” Hissong said. “It’s kind of a family thing.”
Hissong has been hunting and shooting with her father for most of her life, she said, along with her nine-year-old brother Zane.
“I like the time I get to spend with my dad, and the quiet time it brings,” Hissong said.
Hissong’s responsibilities as Miss Annie Oakley will include attending parades and festivals, as well as visiting local libraries and nursing homes.
“I like the image Annie has to Darke County,” Hissong said. “That she was a good role model. I like to think I possess some of those same qualities, and I like to think that makes my family proud.”
The festivities also included a ceremony in which Mike and Sherri Jones, along with the Fort GreeneVille Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, held a dedication in honor of Miss Oakley at 227 East Third Street in Greenville. The former Zemer-Broderick Boarding House was Oakley’s final residence, and a plaque was placed outside the home commemorating this.
Darke County Sheriff’s deputies appeared Sunday afternoon to perform K-9 demonstrations, showing how the dogs are able to sniff out drugs and sense when a suspect is about to attack.
Annie Oakley Committee President JoEllen Melling spoke to the Fair Board earlier this year about signing a three-year contract for the festival to return to the Darke County Fairgrounds. In recent years, the event has taken place at York Woods, about eight miles north of Greenville.
Melling said she felt that returning to the fairground was the only way for the festival to continue to grow, as the York Woods location limited their ability to expand. Ultimately the fair board voted unanimously to sign the new contract.
“The festival committee is very excited that we’ll be celebrating our 55th year at the Darke County Fairgrounds,” organizers of the event said in a statement on the festival’s website. “We’re looking forward to the endless number of activities that will take place at our festival in the years to come.”