GREENVILLE — In continuation of celebrating 50 years of Darke County Parks, thousands visited Shawnee Prairie on Sept. 24 and 25 for Prairie Days.
Several food trucks were a welcomed addition this year. Blowin’ Smoke BBQ, Kona Ice, Mike’s Family Concessions and Grandpa Billy’s Bakery Kettle Corn were all serving up food items. Some vendors even sold out by Sunday afternoon. Many craft vendors also attended all weekend, offering homemade maple syrup, candles and décor, handmade jewelry and carved wooden goods.
The stage was busy with performances both Saturday and Sunday. SilverGrass Band started things off on Saturday, playing traditional folk music. Later, Ted Yoder took the stage with his hammer dulcimer and serenaded the crowd with songs by the Beatles, Tears for Fears, and more. Ted also played some original songs and then took requests from the audience. The Darke County Civic Theater performed a very entertaining melodrama both days. Mora & The Boys performed on Sunday afternoon and closed out Prairie Days with a bang, covering classics such as Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”.
Families were able to make and take home several crafts, including kites, pioneer hats, tin can wind ribbons, hand looms and homemade candles. Many families also participated in Pioneer Olympics by competing in potato sack races, corn shucking races, a slingshot competition and more. Dan Cain won this year’s Best Beard competition, while Joey Hall won the first ever Prairie Days Strong Man Competition.
Visitors stepped back in time as they strolled through the encampment, log house and blacksmith shop where they could interact and chat with historical interpreters. Children were able to pet the animals at the Barnyard petting zoo, especially Lil Bullseye, the mini pony.
Miller apprentice, Thom, brought Bear’s Mill to Prairie Days this year, offering hand grinding demos and a historical lesson on the construction and power of the mill.
Many stopped to watch apple butter being made over the fire, then wandered down to the general store where they could purchase a jar to take home and enjoy, as well as many other homemade goods. After walking around the festival, many families rested their legs by taking a tractor wagon ride through part of the prairie.
On Sunday, visitors got to participate in horse and wagon rides. Darke County Parks would like to extend a special thanks to Pam and Terry Marker for providing the horses and wagon, and to sponsors Spirit Emergency Medical Services and ProAg Services.
Darke County Parks would like to thank Dave Knapp, Countryside Gardens, GTS, Kelly Wilson, Ned Unger, Lance Leber and family, all the individuals that donated drinks and food and all of the vendors that attended.
DCP also extends a massive thanks to the numerous volunteers that dedicated their weekend to make Prairie Days happen. Without such devoted volunteers, this event would not be possible. Last, but certainly not least, DCP would also like to thank to all the folks who came out and enjoyed the event, making all of their hard work so much more rewarding and worthwhile.