Cannons, muskets and music at Gathering


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE – The sound of cannon fire and the smell of black power drifting through Prairie Ridge Meadow during the last weekend of July have become a valued tradition in Greenville. For the 11th year, the grounds of Garst Museum and the Darke County Parks’ Prairie Ridge Meadow have been bustling with the sounds of guests ooooohing and aaaaaawing, laughing and at times, gasping in amazement at the activities taking place.

The Gathering at Garst once again featured the Living History Encampment where visitors were welcome to learn about America’s past. Those participating set up their tents, dressed in period attire and for a weekend lived like our forefathers might have lived – cooking over an open fire, visiting with friends and sharing stories and music, and working their crafts. Everything from woodworkers to blacksmiths were busy working and sharing with visitors how they were able to make what they make.

Although history and education are a big part of the event, visitors were also treated to a lot of fun, great entertainment, beautiful artwork and vendors.

All of the entertainment was incredible, but the headliner on Saturday evening stole the show. Fleetwood Gold performed all of the hits from Fleetwood Mac as they entertained a large crowd gathered in and around the tent on the Garst Museum grounds.

Katie Gabbard, president of the Gathering at Garst, shared this year’s festival was great. The weather was great and the festival-goers were outstanding.

“We’ve had most of our former makers and artists come back,” she said. They lost some of their vendors after COVID due to the businesses changing their business model. However, Gabbard is pleased to announce they had several new vendors this year.

Why do visitors keep coming back every year? Gabbard believes it is because, “We have this old-fashioned festival vibe. You know everybody, it’s relaxed. You just kind of meander around. Look at stuff, visit with people. Everything is economical. It’s just a good experience. It’s the overall atmosphere.”

Gathering at Garst doesn’t rely on one event or activity to please its visitors, according to Gabbard it is multi-faceted. “We’ve got a huge mix of things with the educational aspect with the Living History Encampment. There is so much to learn down there. The people that participate in that, love that – to be able to share what they know and the history of things,” she said. “Then you come up here, there are all sorts of things to learn. You can even go into the museum.” Gabbard said the event is able to span all ages and interests.

The festival would not be able to come together each year without a great committee and Gabbard believes she has the best. “We’ve been able to keep 90 percent of our original committee. For the most part, we have the same solid team.”

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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