The 2016 Prairie Days festival hosted by Darke County Parks was a booming success. With 4,500 attendees and good weather throughout the weekend, Prairie Days proved itself again as an annual favorite of local and not so local families alike. New this year were the Darke County Dulcimer and Folk Music Society taking their turn on the stage, sorghum juice boiling in the sugar shack, and a broom maker demonstrating the historic craft and selling his wares.
Along with presenting an extremely well received black powder firing demonstration, expert gunsmith Lee Wise presented a completed replica of Tecumseh’s rifle to the Darke County Park District. The rifle will be displayed in the growing Tecumseh room in the Nature Center.
As with every year, 2016 included food, crafts, historical demonstrations, the late 18th century encampment, and live stage entertainment throughout the weekend. Apple butter again was among the demonstrations, and it is still available in the nature center gift shop for $5 a pint. T-shirts to commemorate the annual weekend event are also still available for $10-$13 (youth and adult sizes available).
From the apple butter to the general store and the craft tent to the parking lots, Prairie Days would not be possible without the help of volunteers. The park district staff and commissioners would like to thank the 160 volunteers who put in over 1,200 hours to make this year’s festival great! On Saturday, the park provided a picnic style lunch for all the volunteers on the grounds, and they would like to thank all the businesses and individuals who donated for the meal. If you are interested in joining the ranks of such a wonderful and dedicated group of individuals, join the parks for their volunteer open house on January 14th at 2pm or give the nature center a call sooner at (937) 548-0165.
Mark your calendars now for next year’s Prairie Days September 23rd and 24th, 2017, and join in the fun, free, educational, family tradition for years to come.
Did you know? Johnny Appleseed stopped by Prairie Days to pass out apples to children and tell stories.