Darke County Park District Prairie Days bring old-fashioned family fun


By Carolyn Harmon - charmon@dailyadvocate.com



Darke County Park District volunteer Rose Mohler is putting sorghum stocks in the press, during Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.

Darke County Park District volunteer Rose Mohler is putting sorghum stocks in the press, during Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

The Silvergrass band performs during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville, September 23 and 24.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Havanna Harris, Kathy Haney and Brooklyn Harris sit in the log house during Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Haney is the girls’ grandmother. They traveled from Indiana to participate for the sixth time.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Greenville City Council President John Burkett and Darke County Park District Director Roger Van Frank, in costume, during Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Darke County Park District volunteers Neal Schmidt and Dudley Hansbarger with the cob oven, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Soap-maker from Indiana Jenny Slover has been soap-making for about 25 years. She shared her process during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. “The biggest thing I enjoy about it and the one thing I do, is make soap while I am here,” she said.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Mary Zahn is spinner alpaca fibers from her farm Coldwater Creek Alpacas, in Celina, Ohio, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: children Khyira Randall and Peyton Gettinger with Darke County Park District volunteers Dawn Coy and Karla Weaver make rag dolls from fabric scraps, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Bill Toomey, of Greenville, demonstrates Blacksmithing during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Leah Garcia, Thomas Hans, Amanda Murphy, Veda Thornsberry and Maya Thornsberry volunteer during the Prairie Days Festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Veda and Maya are posing with toads they found on the pathway.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Darke County Park District Commissioner Tina White takes a break during the Prairie Days Festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville to participate in gem mining with her niece Paige Adkins.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right Halee, her little sister Brinlee and Brennen Fellers, of Greenville, try the Annie Oakley Center Foundation frequent shooter game, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Folks enjoyed a lap around the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville September 23 and 24, with a horse and wagon ride provided by Carrs Belgians.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: the Stewart family: Lili Ray, Josh, Alexis and Anna, of Greenville, enjoy candle dipping, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. “We usually come every year,” Josh said. “This is slow - no lights, no music, just old fashioned family fun.”


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Cousins Abigail Bowers, Hannah Lay, Kailyn Bowers and Travis Lay are eating the homemade butter they made during Prairie Days Festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville, September 23. According to Darke County Park District volunteer Connie Brocious, the butter is made from heavy cream at room temperature, that is shaken for about eight minutes in a jar.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Darke County Park District Prairie Days Festival volunteers from left to right, front row: Aaron Lavy and Eli Lavy; from left to right back row: Madie Hobbs, Levi Lavy and Lilly Hobbs.


Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

GREENVILLE — With the many modern conveniences of today’s world, many people are curious about the old-fashioned ways of doing things.

The Darke County Park District’s Prairie Days Festival provided a trip to the past, Saturday and Sunday, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve. Folks in period costumes demonstrated such crafts as soap-making, blacksmithing, an outdoor cob oven, apple cider pressing, candle dipping, story telling and sorghum-making. They were also treated to entertainment, by performers, such as: the Darke County Civic Theatre, the SilverGrass band and the Thien Snipps Band. In addition, folks enjoyed laps around the festival in a horse and wagon ride, provided by Carrs Belgians. Food vendors served up treats, such as: kettle corn, hot dogs, sloppy joes, ice cream and sarsaparilla.

Speaking of food, Darke County Park District volunteers Neal Schmidt and Dudley Hansbarger worked hard on the cob oven, made of stone and clay mortar. During the festival, bakers made sorghum ginger and sorghum molasses cookies; white, wheat, rosemary and dill breads, sold for donations. The process to bake in the cob oven, begins at 8 a.m. According to Schmidt, the bottom part of the oven where the logs are is full of rocks and sand with a top layer of fire bricks. He and Hansbarger built a fire in the center of the oven.

“We let that burn and keep stoking and take off the cover,” Schmidt said. “The fire comes out the front door in a flame about 6” to 8”, which burns for about two-and-one-half hours. Then the fire is pushed to the back of the oven, allowing it to curl up over the top and out the back door. When we take the fire out, at about 10:30 a.m., it is about 1,700 degrees in there. We put the door back on the front and let the heat migrate around evenly inside the oven, until noon. The oven is tested for the correct baking temperature, by sticking an arm in for five seconds. Bread bakes at 525 degrees, for about 10 minutes. In the old days, the whole community would come together and everyone would bake bread in the same oven.”

Another exhibitor soap maker Jenny Slover, of Indiana, has been soap making about 20-25 years.

“The biggest thing I enjoy about it, is making soap while I am here,” she said. “I like teaching kids big words like potassium hydroxide and saponification.”

According to Darke County Park District Naturalist Kathi McQueen, the Prairie Days Festival is the funnest day of the year for the parks. The event had about 160 volunteers working for both days. Planning begins in February for the next year.

“It is so much fun to see the community come out and everyone getting together to enjoy the parks,” she said.

Josh Stewart, of Greenville, brought his family out for the event.

“We usually come every year,” he said. “This is slow-no lights, no music, just old fashioned family fun.”

Darke County Park District volunteer Rose Mohler is putting sorghum stocks in the press, during Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_rose.jpgDarke County Park District volunteer Rose Mohler is putting sorghum stocks in the press, during Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

The Silvergrass band performs during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville, September 23 and 24.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_band.jpgThe Silvergrass band performs during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville, September 23 and 24. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Havanna Harris, Kathy Haney and Brooklyn Harris sit in the log house during Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Haney is the girls’ grandmother. They traveled from Indiana to participate for the sixth time.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_haney.jpgFrom left to right: Havanna Harris, Kathy Haney and Brooklyn Harris sit in the log house during Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Haney is the girls’ grandmother. They traveled from Indiana to participate for the sixth time. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Greenville City Council President John Burkett and Darke County Park District Director Roger Van Frank, in costume, during Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_vanfrank.jpgFrom left to right: Greenville City Council President John Burkett and Darke County Park District Director Roger Van Frank, in costume, during Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Darke County Park District volunteers Neal Schmidt and Dudley Hansbarger with the cob oven, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_oven.jpgFrom left to right: Darke County Park District volunteers Neal Schmidt and Dudley Hansbarger with the cob oven, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Soap-maker from Indiana Jenny Slover has been soap-making for about 25 years. She shared her process during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. “The biggest thing I enjoy about it and the one thing I do, is make soap while I am here,” she said.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_soap.jpgSoap-maker from Indiana Jenny Slover has been soap-making for about 25 years. She shared her process during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. “The biggest thing I enjoy about it and the one thing I do, is make soap while I am here,” she said. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Mary Zahn is spinner alpaca fibers from her farm Coldwater Creek Alpacas, in Celina, Ohio, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_alpaca.jpgMary Zahn is spinner alpaca fibers from her farm Coldwater Creek Alpacas, in Celina, Ohio, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: children Khyira Randall and Peyton Gettinger with Darke County Park District volunteers Dawn Coy and Karla Weaver make rag dolls from fabric scraps, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_prairiedolls.jpgFrom left to right: children Khyira Randall and Peyton Gettinger with Darke County Park District volunteers Dawn Coy and Karla Weaver make rag dolls from fabric scraps, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Bill Toomey, of Greenville, demonstrates Blacksmithing during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_blacksmith.jpgBill Toomey, of Greenville, demonstrates Blacksmithing during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Leah Garcia, Thomas Hans, Amanda Murphy, Veda Thornsberry and Maya Thornsberry volunteer during the Prairie Days Festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Veda and Maya are posing with toads they found on the pathway.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_garcia.jpgFrom left to right: Leah Garcia, Thomas Hans, Amanda Murphy, Veda Thornsberry and Maya Thornsberry volunteer during the Prairie Days Festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Veda and Maya are posing with toads they found on the pathway. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Darke County Park District Commissioner Tina White takes a break during the Prairie Days Festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville to participate in gem mining with her niece Paige Adkins.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_tinawhite.jpgFrom left to right: Darke County Park District Commissioner Tina White takes a break during the Prairie Days Festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville to participate in gem mining with her niece Paige Adkins. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right Halee, her little sister Brinlee and Brennen Fellers, of Greenville, try the Annie Oakley Center Foundation frequent shooter game, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_annie-shoot.jpgFrom left to right Halee, her little sister Brinlee and Brennen Fellers, of Greenville, try the Annie Oakley Center Foundation frequent shooter game, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Folks enjoyed a lap around the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville September 23 and 24, with a horse and wagon ride provided by Carrs Belgians.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_prarie.jpgFolks enjoyed a lap around the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville September 23 and 24, with a horse and wagon ride provided by Carrs Belgians. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: the Stewart family: Lili Ray, Josh, Alexis and Anna, of Greenville, enjoy candle dipping, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. “We usually come every year,” Josh said. “This is slow – no lights, no music, just old fashioned family fun.”
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_stewart.jpgFrom left to right: the Stewart family: Lili Ray, Josh, Alexis and Anna, of Greenville, enjoy candle dipping, during the Prairie Days Festival, at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville. “We usually come every year,” Josh said. “This is slow – no lights, no music, just old fashioned family fun.” Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

From left to right: Cousins Abigail Bowers, Hannah Lay, Kailyn Bowers and Travis Lay are eating the homemade butter they made during Prairie Days Festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville, September 23. According to Darke County Park District volunteer Connie Brocious, the butter is made from heavy cream at room temperature, that is shaken for about eight minutes in a jar.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_prarie-butter.jpgFrom left to right: Cousins Abigail Bowers, Hannah Lay, Kailyn Bowers and Travis Lay are eating the homemade butter they made during Prairie Days Festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, in Greenville, September 23. According to Darke County Park District volunteer Connie Brocious, the butter is made from heavy cream at room temperature, that is shaken for about eight minutes in a jar. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Darke County Park District Prairie Days Festival volunteers from left to right, front row: Aaron Lavy and Eli Lavy; from left to right back row: Madie Hobbs, Levi Lavy and Lilly Hobbs.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_lavy2.jpgDarke County Park District Prairie Days Festival volunteers from left to right, front row: Aaron Lavy and Eli Lavy; from left to right back row: Madie Hobbs, Levi Lavy and Lilly Hobbs. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

By Carolyn Harmon

charmon@dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.