Gabbard steps down as chair of Gathering


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — According to organizers of the 12th annual Gathering at Garst, this year’s event was a success. Although the heat and humidity slightly dampened attendance, vendors and artists say it was a good year.

Katie Gabbard, outgoing chairman of the event, said she conducted a poll of those participating at the event and found they all reported strong sales from event goers.

Gabbard, who announced she is stepping down as chairman of the event, reflected on the event and what it means to the community. “The Gathering at Garst was started 12 years ago by my mother, Jenny Clark, and I. In those first years of the event, my mom laid out a tremendously strong plan for what the Gathering at Garst would encompass. She wanted the event to be a higher caliber event, rich in unique experiences and charming hometown elements. Many of the much beloved aspects of today’s Gathering at Garst—the pie and ice cream tent, Living History Encampment, the tavern, horse-drawn carriage rides provided by my dad, Jack Clark—were her original ideas 12 years ago. It has continued to evolve and grow thanks in huge part to her creativity and determination. When she decided to retire three years ago, I naturally moved into the driver’s seat. It’s a role that I was thrilled and honored to take. Even now, after all of these years under my belt, I remain excited and proud of the Gathering at Garst.”

Gabbard said she is stepping away from the festival to pursue a different career path. She said she is “profoundly proud of the Gathering at Garst.” She continued, “I can look back on the event with immense happiness and a full heart. Just as so many people have left their mark on the event, the Gathering at Garst has left its own mark on us. It reflects the very best of what Greenville and Darke County offers. It shares our rich history, our culture, and our character with all of those that visit the event. It reminds us to be proud of this place we call home.”

Being there from the very beginning, Gabbard has lot to be proud of over the past dozen years, but she is most proud of the degree to which the community has shown its love for the Gathering at Garst. “Seeing familiar faces, families, and longtime friends enjoying the event together—that’s gold,” she said.

The chairman also recognized the committee that helps put the event together every year. “The Gathering at Garst would merely be a sketch on paper if not for the hard work of our core committee to bring it to life. The majority of the committee has been helping from the very first year. I might be just as proud of our committee as I am of the event. Working alongside these folks is something that’s been hugely rewarding. I wish more people had the characteristics of chipping in, volunteering, lending a hand—it’s a rare trait these days and the people within the Gathering at Garst committee have it in full measure. I’d like to specifically name those on the core committee that have worked alongside me over the years. Though some of these individuals have stepped aside from the core committee, their impact on the Gathering at Garst is long-lived and enormously appreciated.”

Those committee members include Scott and Deb Ray, Lorie Filbrun, Stephanie Schieltz, Peggy Jasenski, Jolene Hangen, Deb Shiverdecker, Dwight Edwards (aka Bufford), Charlene Thornhill, Jack Clark, Tim Hall, Dave Warner, Angie Arnold, CJ Jasenski, Tom Lucas, Cindy McAllister, Scott Fitzgerald, Jerimy Davidson, Ben Hawes, Hank Steinmetz, Rob Garrett, John and Karen Burkett, Gretchen Snyder, Connie Norris, Steve Birt, Patti Jetter, Dick Sodders, Betty Birt, David Nilsen, Melinda Guerra, Samantha Mang, Jean Derr, Sue Besecker, Rosie Bridenbaugh, and Julie Clark.

The committee has not named a new chairman to lead the event. Discussions are currently being held to determine how best to move forward without Gabbard or her mother leading the event.

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

No posts to display