Park District is “Gathering” the community


By Deb Shiverdecker

Darke County Parks

One of our community’s most prized summer events “The Gathering at Garst” has been drawing people from all over the region for many years. The great food and drink, summer music, unique vendors, our beloved Garst Museum, the historical encampment with cannons roaring and costumed re-enactors make this event a community favorite. As with all nonprofit organizations, our Museum has come to a point of not having enough viable volunteers or staff to help them run this event. And as with the Friends of Bear’s Mill, the Museum has asked the Darke County Park District to take over hosting the event in their stead so that this favorite summer festival can continue on for our community and its visitors.

The Park District had been considering changing up its fall festival, Prairie Days, because of dropping attendance and lack of volunteers as well. Eventually, the decision was made to accept the challenge of taking over the Gathering! The Park District will merge some of the Prairie Days activities with this festival and with an encampment event in late September at Shawnee Prairie which will take the place of Prairie Days at least for this year. The Park District’s Event Coordinator, Megan Hammaker, has taken on this project with her usual hard-working style and passion. Myself and a volunteer committee have been hosting the historical encampment for the museum for over 5 years now so that planning has already begun. We expect that the Gathering will continue this year pretty much as it has in the past with the Park District putting some small touches of its own on the event. We hope that you will support us in this endeavor. We are also in dire need of artisan vendors.

The Darke County community has so many offerings this July weekend to welcome folks from everywhere to our little corner of Ohio. There are races at Eldora, Annie Oakley festival at the fairgrounds, downtown Greenville’s businesses offer sales and other excitement. It is a lovely time to visit Greenville and Darke County. The community will keep you well entertained for the entire weekend/week! Invite your out-of-town friends and family. Introduce them to everything Darke County has to offer.

Don’t forget the encampment that will also be held at Shawnee Prairie the last weekend of September. The Park District continues to serve the community with its multi-talented and welcoming staff and volunteers.

Lastly, consider volunteering to help with The Gathering. You can sign up for a shift or the entire weekend. It is a lot of fun. And volunteering is a great way to get to know your neighbors and serve your fellow citizens. Did you know it helps your physical and mental health as well? Call us at (937)548-0165 or email [email protected] if you would like to participate in or volunteer for the Gathering at Garst. Mark your calendars now for July 27-28, 2024 for the Gathering and September 28-29 for an encampment weekend at Shawnee Prairie Preserve. We hope to see you then!

No posts to display