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Annie Oakley Weekend Bigger & Better than Ever

By Bob Robinson

“This is a Christmas Fern from the Colony of Maryland,” said John Burkett, showing a framed display he created.

Burkett and his wife, Karen, are historical re-enactors who portray figures and events from America’s history. The Christmas Fern dealt with the 18th Century “New Country,” something visitors from the “Old Country” had never seen. He talked about the people who visited between the two countries.

“It’s amazing to me how many times people took the boat trip back and forth,” he said. “It was a 30 to 45-day trip.”

“And hazardous,” added Karen.

Burkett, who, along with Karen, was setting up their booth, commented that he was a Hodar.

“A what?”

“A Hodar. Don’t know what that is?”

“Nope.”

“Karen is a Daughter of the America Revolution, a DAR. I’m a Husband of a DAR. A HoDAR.”

The Burketts will have many tales to tell visitors Saturday and Sunday at the First Annual Gathering at Garst. They will be one of dozens of exhibitors and entertainers at the two-day event this weekend.

The last weekend in July has always been a big weekend in Darke County. This year it will be bigger and better than ever!

The weekend kicked off on Wednesday with the Miss Annie Oakley preliminaries. On Thursday, KitchenAid and other downtown merchants kicked off three days of sidewalk sales, and Thursday evening Ball State junior Laura Francis earned the title of Miss Annie Oakley 2011 by hitting her target at 100 feet. Shortly after the shooting contest was over, the Darke County Civic Theatre presented the first of its annual melodramas.

Friday morning saw the opening of the Annie Oakley Festival at the fairgrounds, as preparations were underway for the Gathering at Garst that kicks off Saturday morning at 10.

Also Saturday morning is the Walk in Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. It starts at 9 a.m., followed by the Annie Oakley Parade at 10 a.m. The weekend will be full of events, displays and celebrations at the Annie Oakley Festival and the “Gathering.”

No complaints allowed about nothing to do this weekend. There’s something for everyone.

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