The GREAT Darke County Fair


Entitled the greatest county fair on earth, this Friday will be the opening of the 163rd Great Darke County Fair. This year’s fair will run from August 16 to the 24.

The fair was started in 1852, when Dr. I.N. Gard was named chief executive officer and ably led by such men as George Coover, Alfred Kitchen and Noah Arnold to realize the dream and plan for an agricultural fair for the following year. And so it came to pass that on a Wednesday and Thursday, September 7 and 8 of 1853, Darke County indeed had a fair of its own. Greenville, as the county seat, was selected for geographic reasons and thus the initial fair was held on the grounds immediately east of Garst museum. Three times since the fair’s 1853 inception the event was canceled: 1862 and 1863 the fair was canceled because the county was embroiled in pitting brother against brother in the Civil War; and again in 1949, due to the outbreak of polio in the county and surrounding area.

What’s your favorite exhibit, food, entertainment? Perhaps you have a 4-H’er, band member, or cheerleader you will be supporting or have entered exhibits in the Fine Arts or Domestic Arts, FFA, or one of the livestock barns; whatever your reason for attending the fair make it one of the best ever! Best of luck to all of the youth exhibitors at the fair, it will be a memory of a lifetime that you will tell your children and grandchildren about in years to come.

Former resident, Janet Conley will perform at the Gazebo on Sunday, the 18 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. While you are there don’t forget to support your local vendors that work the fair. The A# Tent at the Darke County Fair is celebrating their 48th year this year. It takes many volunteers to run the A# Tent every year. Did you know that the A# Tent was started for the 1971 fair by the A# Club with the leadership of the late Rev. Hilbert and his wife. Mary Piel? That first year included nightly concerts at the back of the tent by the AHS Stage Band with lots of rhythm and blues hits arranged by Mr. Ronnie Ball, the band director at that time. Please remember to support the band and choir by stopping by the tent and supporting them by eating a meal or two while you are on the fairgrounds.

You might also visit other businesses that have Arcanum roots while you are at the fair, have a lemonade shakeup from Martin’s Old Fashioned Lemonade, an elephant ear from Chuck’s Foods or Rismiller’s, how about a Farmer Brown and some Just Ice Cream; or maybe you are just be there to see some old friends, enjoy yourself and make some memories.

The Arcanum Wayne Trail Historical Society invites you to come join them on September 7 at 9 a.m. at 123 West George Street. They will start the tour with a brief history lesson about their organization and the Louis Deitrich Saloon building as well as the restoration of the house. Next they will walk the town, led by Fred Troutwine, to learn about the Designated Historic Sites around town. If these buildings and homes could talk! Tour will be approximately two hours long. This is the 15th year of the organization – Come Celebrate! Updates and rain date info will be posted in this event so check for updates frequently. Scheduled rain date is September 14. Download brochure here Or pick up from AWTHS.

On September 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. AWTHS will host Roane Smothers will share his knowledge from research about Longtown. Roane started his genealogy research when he worked in Dayton. As he continued his research, he became more interested in the history of Longtown where his mother’s families’ origins were. Through his research, Roane discovered the Clemens and Alexander’s families were the first settlers of Longtown and He joined the Union Literary Institute Preservation Society (ULIPS). He is currently the president of the Union Literary Institute Preservation Society (ULIPS) and has expanded the mission of the ULIPS to save all the remaining structures of Longtown. He wrote and nominated the James and Sophia Clemens Farmstead in Darke County and the Union Literary Institute to the National Register of Historic Places and to the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom Program as an Underground Railroad sites.

Little University, LLC is now open at 110 East South St. in the old schoolhouse (also known as the Owl Store and before that Pizza & Cream). The doors are open and they have room for daycare as well as preschool. If you have questions, please contact Kathy Pearson at 937-662-0050 or via email at [email protected] .

“The Great Darke County Fair is like a holiday. I look forward to it all year long to go back again and see old friends and savor the food delights! Even though, year after year, we do the same things, it never disappoints.” ~anonymous

By Vickie Rhodehamel

Arcanum News

Vickie Rhodehamel is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her Arcanum community column. She can be reached by calling 937-692-6188, by e-mail at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article 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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