VERSAILLES — Visitors to the Versailles Bicentennial Celebration in the Park enjoyed entertainment on the recently completed amphitheater and may have heard the project discussed by elected officials, but there is much more to this project than grants and a ribbon cutting.
YOLO was started more than six years ago by Phillip and Jodi Pierri as a way to become more involved in the community.
“We wanted to give back in a way that will be around for generations,” Phillip Pierri said. Pierri is a financial adviser at Financial Achievement Services Inc. and resides in Greenville with his wife Jodi and their children.
When YOLO started running the Poultry Days 5K in 2014, the idea to build an amphitheater in the park began. Many don’t know that Heritage Park is owned and funded by Poultry Days. Every chicken dinner purchased at the festival maintains the park and makes it available to the community.
Originally the idea was to move Poultry Days to the park but as the park developed and Poultry Days grew, the park became a project on its own.
When YOLO first began exploring the idea of building an amphitheater, they didn’t realize that they were actually completing the original design. The first phase of Heritage Park was started in 1985, and the park design, including the hill was to include an amphitheater.
More than 34 years later, YOLO completed the plan with the unveiling of a beautiful amphitheater complete with built in PA system, lighting, and an over 2,000-square- foot stage.
The area in front of the stage can hold 900 people standing or 450 people seated and the hill will hold nearly 2,000 people.
Stated a different way, this facility has the capacity to hold the entire population of Versailles.
A huge thank you goes out to the generosity of community. Funding for this project came from YOLO of Darke County Inc., Ohio Department of Natural Resources, The Ruth and Emerson Booher Committee Advised Fund for Versailles, Ohio, Pepcon, Weaver Brother’s, Pohl Transportation, Second National Bank, Ohio Plastic Processors, Bailey Zechar Funeral Home, Poultry Days, Jim and Julia Poeppelman, Village of Versailles, Versailles Chamber of Commerce, Kaup Pharmacy, Versailles Area Community Fund, Greenville Federal Bank, and many other generous individuals and companies in the area as displayed on the donor walls at the amphitheater.
The amphitheater was constructed by JCS Construction of Greenville.
According to YOLO founder Pierri. when YOLO first started approaching people in the community the amount of support was overwhelming. It was the “How can we help you” or “Let us know what we can do” that made this project a reality so quickly. When a state grant was received with the assistance of State Auditor Keith Faber, the group knew this project was becoming a reality sooner than any thought possible. What better time to have this grand opening than in conjunction with the bicentennial celebration of Versailles. Everything fell into place and the bicentennial committee worked in making the celebration something to remember.
This project also took the hard work of many people. Todd and Sara Porter have been a huge supporter from day one. They’ve helped with the 5K every year and with the planning of the amphitheater from the get-go. All of the Poultry Days and Heritage Park committee members also stepped up and helped.
Mike Poling, HB Hole and Brian Pearson were a huge support throughout the planning process.
In 2019, YOLO completed Darke County community projects valued at $1.3 million. Pierri shared he is proud to be a small part of what makes Darke County a great place to live.
The Versailles community is extremely appreciative of the initiative of Phillip and Jodi Pierri, Todd and Sara Porter, and the Heritage Park Board for making this project a reality. The amphitheater adds another resource to the community for events and celebrations.
Anyone interested in using the amphitheater or Heritage Park should contact Mike Poling at 937-423-2638.