Winesburg Fall Gathering promises good fun, food, and more
by Ohio's Amish Country
The Winesburg Business Association is finding an old adage to be true when it comes to the 17th annual Winesburg Fall Gathering: Anything worth doing is worth doing right. They have been working diligently on all the appropriate events to fill this year’s festival, and may have gotten it “just right.”
All the hard work will come to fruition on Saturday, Sept. 15, when the village will be full of vendors, crafters, musicians, and visitors from all around the area, and will culminate with the Fall Gathering auction at 3 p.m. Fun will be plentiful, including a Husband-Carrying Contest. The contest originated with the story of Weinsburg, Germany, from which Winesburg, Ohio, got its name. Emperor Konrad III captured the fort in Winesburg’s namesake village in medieval times. He granted youthful and female prisoners their request to leave, taking with them whatever prized possessions they could carry out on their back. The strong, quick-thinking German women carried their husbands out of the fort. This happening will be recreated on the lawn at Heritage Park, in the east end of the village, at 11:45 a.m.
The vendors who have been providing the treasures that repeat visitors have sought out will be set up along the streets and in the schoolyard at Winesburg Elementary. Antiques, flea market items, crafts, produce, and more will be ripe for the picking. There will be plenty of opportunities for bargain hunters at the vendor’s tables, as well as at the auction at 3 p.m. that will cap off the day.
Music will flow from several places around the little village. Salt Creek Inc will be performing at Heritage Park beginning at 9:30 a.m. for the second year. In the center of town, near the Winesburg Antique Mall, there will be banjo entertainment featuring Glenn Parks at 9 a.m. Dulcimers and fiddles will replace banjos as Bountiful Folk takes the stage at the same location at 11 a.m. After a break, they will be back from 1-2 p.m. Traditional folk tunes, some gospel, and classical tunes are their specialty. Sounds of a different nature will come next at that location as members of the University of Akron Steel Drum Band show how unique their blend of music is. They are scheduled from 2:30-4:30 p.m., and visitors may feel like they’ve come to the islands as they listen. Across US 62, on the porch of the Grapevine House Bed & Breakfast, ageless tunes will have listeners tapping their toes as Prism returns with a blast from the past. Their oldies music is well-received and they help enhance dancing skills some never even knew they had. Their schedule is 10-11 a.m. and again from noon to 1 p.m.
Back at Heritage Park, join in the Husband Carrying Contest at 11:45 a.m. and the Historical Society’s old-fashioned cakewalk at 12:15 p.m. From the islands that Akron University’s steel drums will bring to mind to the Irish hillsides, the Business Association is proud to showcase Maidens IV and their entertaining, energetic style. Four sisters who play and sing Celtic, folk, and gospel music will delight all ages with their melodies. If you saw them at Lehman’s Hardware’s anniversary celebration earlier in the year, you know that they are worth seeing again. If you missed them, don’t make the same mistake twice. They begin at 1 p.m., the same time as the silent auction, and play up until 3 p.m., when the live auction begins. Schedules of events will be posted at many locations on Sept. 15.
Mention must be made of the food that will be available for the Fall Gathering. Beginning close to first light, breakfast will be ready at the Winesburg Zion Church annex. The youth group has made breakfast for several years, and visitors couldn’t be happier. Rumor has it the Fall Gathering’s famous ham and bean soup will be served at the Heritage Park location; watch for signs or simply follow your nose. Always a crowd-pleaser, the over 50 gallons of the delicious concoction cooked over an open fire go quickly. Some people even say they come to Winesburg specifically for the soup. Honey Ridge Amish school will also provide a lunch stand near the center of town with lots of options for hungry festival-goers.
As enjoyable as always, the Paint Township Volunteer Fire Department’s chicken barbecue will delight those looking for a good supper. They begin service just as the auction at Heritage Park finishes up. Throughout the day, look for other treats such as the Winesburg Historical Society’s homemade ice cream, kettle corn, bake sale items, and assorted goodies sold at vendor booths. Arrive hungry, leave happy!