GREENVILLE — On the weekend of Sept. 28 and 29, the Darke County Park District will host its annual Prairie Days festival at Shawnee Prairie Preserve at 4267 State Route. 502 West near Greenville. As festival attendants wander through the grounds, they will 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.
Attendees are welcome to come watch apple butter cooking over the fire, play children’s pioneer games, view local artists’ works, and enjoy live music and entertainment. This year there will be performances by The Darke County Civic Theatre on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. The SilverGrass Band will perform on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and at 3:45 p.m. the Ramblin’ Rovers will take the stage. On Sunday at 1:30 p.m., kick back and enjoy the music of Noah Back. On Sunday, Johnny Appleseed will also be wandering the festival sharing stories to anyone that will listen.
Between acts, attendees can sit-a-spell with the pioneer volunteers in the Log House or try candle-making, tin-smithing, and more. The 18th century encampment will be open to the public and attendees can watch a tomahawk and knife throwing competition. There will also be the annual Prairie Days Pie Baking Contest held on Saturday, Sept. 28. Entries will be accepted from 9:30 to 10 a.m. at the classroom of the Nature Center at Shawnee Prairie Preserve. Judging starts promptly at 10 a.m. The winner of each category will receive a first-place certificate. Overall Best-in-Show will be awarded a cash prize. Winners will be announced during Prairie Days Saturday at 1:50 p.m. at the outdoor stage. Entry fee is $2 per pie to enter in any (or all) of the following categories: Apple, Peach, Berry, or Other. Those interested in participating are asked to submit pies in a disposable pan; merengue or refrigerated pies will not be accepted. After judging, slices of pie will be sold at Mad Anthony’s Tavern.
There will also be a wide variety of food to choose from. Attendees can enjoy fresh produce from Downing 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. Attendees can also enter the annual basket raffle. Baskets this year include themes such as Paddling, Kitchen, Gardening, and Bird Watching.
Admission and parking at Shawnee Prarie Preserve are free. Transportation from the main parking areas will be provided by Greenville Transit System (GTS). Parking areas will be well marked with plenty of signage. Handicap parking will be available in the paved lot at the Nature Center (please be sure to have your handicap placard visible).
For more information visit www.darkecountyparks.org/prairie-days.