GREENVILLE – The Darke County Park District will host its annual Prairie Days festival on the weekend of Sept. 29 and 30 at Shawnee Prairie Preserve at 4267 State Route 502 West near Greenville.
As festival attendants wander through the grounds they’ll hear the ring of the blacksmith’s hammer on the anvil, smell fresh bread baking in the outdoor oven and see long-hunters tending their fires in the woodland encampment.
Guests can come watch as apple butter is made over the fire, play children’s pioneer games, view local artists’ works, enjoy live music and entertainment.
This year there will be performances by The Darke County Civic Theatre at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 29 and at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 30. The Silver Grass Band will perform at 1 p.m. Sept. 29 followed by Steve Madewell’s performance at 4 p.m. Starting Sept. 30’s stage performances will be the Ramblin’ Rovers at noon. Next up on stage at 2 p.m. are the stories of Johnny Appleseed as he passes through Prairie Days during his journeys.
Between acts, guests can sit-a-spell with the pioneer volunteers in the log house or try their hand at candle-making, tin-smithing and more. Guests can take a stroll through the 18th century encampment and watch a tomahawk and knife throwing competition. They also can visit the Greenville FFA and its farm animal petting zoo for the young and young-at-heart to learn and enjoy and take a lap around the festival with a horse and wagon ride provided by Carrs Belgians.
Bakers can prepare their best pie to enter in the Friends of the Darke County Parks’ pie-baking contest held at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 29. The cost is $2 a pie to enter in any or all of the following categories: apple, peach, berry or other. Entrants should be sure to submit pies in a disposable pan. Organizers cannot accept meringue or refrigerated pies. The winner takes home a cash prize.
There also will be a wide variety of food to choose from. Guests can take a load off as they enjoy fresh produce from Downing’s Fruit Farm, an ice cream cone from Just Ice Cream or visit one of the non-profit vendors serving a wide variety of foods for lunch, snacks and more. Guests also can enter the annual basket raffle before leaving.
The Friends of the Parks are requesting donations to help make this event shine. All donations can be dropped at the Nature Center at Shawnee Prairie Preserve from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Donations should be delivered no later than Sept. 22.
Admission and parking are free at Prairie Days. Transportation from the main parking areas once again will be provided by Greenville Transit System. Parking areas will be well marked with plenty of signage. Handicap parking once again will be available in the paved lot at the Nature Center.
For more information, call the Nature Center at 937-548-0165 or visit the website at www.darkecountyparks.org.