Once again, Darke County Parks hosted the Candlelit Dinners on the Prairie on Saturday, October 22nd and Saturday, November 5th. Both nights were unseasonably warm, so there was hardly a need to stick close to the fire in the log house. Visitors were welcomed and split into two groups, the Wilcox and Harlett families. The logs of these two families’ homes were used in the construction of the current log house at Shawnee Prairie.
The dinner guests enjoyed demonstrations of the park district’s blacksmith shop by Galen Delk and the life and accoutrements of a long hunter by Andrew Kenworthy, both park volunteers. Then the guests enjoyed their meal. The October dinner featured both rabbit and venison as the main course, and the second dinner featured Schnitz un Knepp, a German style smoked ham and apple dish. This year’s full menu included vegetable soup, mashed herb potatoes, glazed carrots, roasted cabbage with bacon, and artisan bread. Bread pudding starred in the dessert course. The park district would like to extend a huge thank you to Roger Van Frank for his portrayal of Matthew Huston and Tom Franklin for his portrayal of David Conner as the evenings’ entertainment.
This was the 6th year of hosting the Candlelit Dinners at the Prairie. Hannah Wiest, the November 5 evening’s organizer, said, “I’m amazed how many people have made our dinners an annual tradition.” She expressed thanks to all who attended and especially to all the volunteers who make the evening a success by cleaning before, managing cooking fires, preparing food, serving, or cleaning up after. The Candlelit Dinners on the Prairie are an annual fundraising event for the log house historical area maintenance fund, and the food, entertainment, and labor is provided mainly by donors and volunteers. Everyone is invited out next year to help support the park district’s cultural programming and enjoy an evening lost in history.