Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Annie Oakley Bingo Breakfast was a great success! Major Announcement Forthcoming

The Annie Oakley Festival Committee would like to thank the many volunteers and sponsors that helped to once again, make the annual bingo breakfast a great success. Once again the spirit and commitment of the following people and businesses has shown that we are proud to live and work in Darke County.

Our thanks to: Carolyn Fisher, VFW Bingo, Paws Bingo, Eikenberrys, Darke County Humane Society, McDonalds, Ron Moody, Wendy’s, Catering by Michael, Moose Lodge, Dodi and Bill Foster, Jamie Moody, Marilyn Robbins, Tonya Price, Teanna Fields, Donna and Richard Arnett, Suttons, Wagner Ave. Shell Station, Spencer’s Landscaping, Serendipity Salon, Country Primitives, Bistro, Pamelas, CJ Highmarks, Fairlawn Steak House, Little Italian CafĂ©, The Dairy Barn, Smith Coffeehouse, Double M Diner, Janet’s Broadway Bakery, Asian Buffet, ANA Automotive, Sue Miller, Splash and Dash, Vints, Arti Facts Scrapbooking, Pizza Hut, Lowes, Staples, Michael’s, Merle Norman, Wielands, Ann’s Gifts, Arcanum Hardware, Premiere Video, Taco Bell, Francis Furniture, Goodies, Big Lots, Maes Beauty Salon, Marco’s, Northtown Sunoco.

A major announcement will be forthcoming from the Annie Oakley Festival Committee after their annual wrap up meeting the end of this next week. Some people may be shocked but many people have seen the writing on the wall after the past two dismal years of the festival.


  1. Say ain't so!! Hope the "days" aren't done, just move it back to the Garst!!

  2. I really hope that they aren't quitting. I am a younger adult in the area and I was a part of The Gathering at Garst - 1. because they asked me to help out and 2. because they were open to hope is that they will try to revamp the entire thing and ask people to join. Don't just put a request out there, but search out the right people for the job and ask them to volunteer. I feel this is what The Gathering did - and I feel it was successful because of it.

  3. Anonymous 10:52 PM Please define "right people." What qualifications do you need to be the "right person?"
    The AO Committee did/does search out volunteers, and believe me, they ask lots of people to help. The invitation to volunteer is advertised routinely in the paper throughout the year.
    People are getting confused about the Gathering and the AO festival. The Gathering was scheduled to coincide with AO festival. The Gathering was created to draw more attention to Garst Museum. The Gathering really had nothing to do with AO days- the Gathering kind of piggy-backed itself by using the same dates as AO festival. If the festival went back to Garst, would the Gathering dissolve and become AO festival or will the AO festival dissolve and become the Gathering?

    AO festival is an event that has gone on for something like 40 or more years. The committees of the past was comprised of many community business leaders who wanted to give back to the people by volunteering to put on a festival for their town. I don't know the history of the event or how it got started. Oral tradition passed down says that the festival outgrew the Garst location- there were lots of issues with parking, the lack of electricity and water, a way to dispose of grey water, restroom facilities, etc. The event was moved to the fairgrounds to better accommodate these issues. The fairboard charges the regular fees for the use of the grounds, thus the admission and vendor's fees.

    Every town has its very own festival and now, Greenville will be without, yet again.

  4. But what about the left people? If you are going to choose the right people, you got to include the left people- don't be hating!

  5. And who says the Annie fest HAS to be terminated?

    I feel it is very sad indeed that the AO committee has considered throwing in the towel. The old saying goes, it ain't over til the fat lady sings. Having been a part of planning the Gathering, it is readily apparent why the move to the fair grounds was necessary to accommodate their continuation. The Garst Museum grounds does present may limitations. An event of the nature of The Gathering is much suited to meet those needs. Lumping the two together, in my humble opinion would create another situation which would halt the progress of both.

    From my perspective and it is just that, the core of the Annie event is its relaying of the history of Annie. This is where they truly shine. The vending has become a side thought/ If the historical aspect is the bulk of what draws traffic, redouble your efforts in marketing it for such. Consider pin-point additional programming such as re-enactments, oratorical presentations, more riding/shotting demonstrations.

    If you wish to focus on the aspect of presenting items for sale, pin-point who and what items are a possible draw and hone that program, package it so it is favorable to draw its market of participants, then target exactly where its customers are. It is your show, determine how you wish your vendors to present in a effective way, then guide those presentations so you can maximize on them.

    To lose this wonderful aspect of our history would be a shame. The event has faced many challenges in the course of its existence but I do not feel those challenges could not be surmounted and the event be allowed to continue on and brought back to a stage where it flourishes. I still insist that by capitalizing on a weekend which generates traffic throughout town serves to stimulate a greater concentration of people to visit the area in one weekend. The idea of having multiple stops present for people to progress along, although needed a little tweaking, is one which is well utilized in other places. I feel if the combination is refined, it would thrive. From all appearances, it seemed from my perspective, that the area enjoyed having such a great choice of options and capitalized on them.

    How boring would it be if your favorite restaurant only had one menu item on it every time you visited?

    This town needs to stop looking at a left or right approach and learn to focus on the middle. That is where truly talented, creative, progressive ideas come together. When we realize opinions are meant to clash and how we learn to make those opinions mesh and thrive, then we will be well on our way to something productive. But by the same token, what we all stand to benefit from is the realization of this- when a person has a unique talent or gift, they are the ones we best stand to gain from.

    You never know where that talent may be waiting. If you allow yourself to be open to surprises, that is where they surface. You might not think of taking your car to your baker for an oil change or consider letting your mechanic bake you a cake, simply because of the sign they hang above their doors. Greatness comes in knowing that passion is where true talent lies. Whether it is a passion for planning, a passion for promoting, a passion for football or a passion to simply be involved.


  6. The AOD committee that made the decision to move to the fairgrounds should be very proud. You killed off a great thing. How is that working out for you now? Annie is a big part of our history. Our history is located in the museum. For the ability to charge people to attend you sealed your fate. Hope it was worth it. You were told by countless people this was a big mistake.

  7. Anonymous August 4, 2011 12:26 AM - I will explain what I mean by the "right people". The right people are the people who are going to carry out your vision.

    Just like any business - a committee must have a vision of what they want to accomplish and what they want their event to look like. This means you need to hire the people you feel will be able to convey this vision in the best way.

    If you want a fun marketing campaign - you need to find a fun marketing person whose ideas will lead your event in that way. If you want your music to be unique and different, you need to find an entertainment coordinator who either has connections to those type of musicians - or is willing to find those type of musicians - it would be even better if that "right person" prefers that type of music - they will have a better understanding of it from the get-go and would then be the "right person" to get that type of entertainment for your event...

    I am suprised this is such a shocking concept for people to understand. It seems it offends people and truthfully - it is pretty much common sense.

    Companies hire people they feel are the "right person", not only for the job - but the person who fits the vision of the company.

    You wouldn't hire an electrician to do a plumbers job. You wouldn't hire a bango player to take your photographs.

    As for hiring the "left people" - I am all about it. EEO's for all!! :)

    Seriously though, the comment about hiring the "right people" is in no way meant to be offensive - it is meant to get the job done in the best way possible.

  8. I agree with the above comment up to hiring an electrician to do a plumbers job or a banjo player to take photos. Over the years, I have come to learn that there are plenty of electricians who, surprisingly, can plumb, play the banjo, and take a decent photo. My point- you never know where aspersions talents lie and it's never too late to teach someone something new. That said, having a skilled core in any endeavor is a positive asset, it's in the knowing how to allocate the assets of a collective which, I feel, allow that organization to thrive...

  9. Anon 12:23p and Eaterie: See, you used a better way to express yourself by re-stating the definition of "right people." The original definition isn't as clear when one reads the original post. One must be careful when blogging because misconception is always a possibility, especially when the topic is a hot one.

    I will agree with your explanation. THe problem is, why didn't such people step up when they felt there was a problem? Hindsight is 20/20 but not acting until the point of failure is frustrating, too. Do people think one needs a formal invite to volunteer if they think their actions or skills can make a difference for the good? I, for one, will find out how I can help if I am passionate enough about a cause. I don't wait for an invite. Sometimes, people just don't know what skills or connections I can bring to the table unless I offer.

    Will either of you now volunteer to keep the AO festival alive?

    The AO committee did the best they could. They are not quitters. If these people were quitters, the festival would have closed a few years ago.

    Now that we have all had our "I told you so" moment, it is time to come up with a solution. Major restructuring of the organization is needed. The current committee members are resourceful and can offer all kinds of info due to their experiences.

    It is apparent that Garst will not be able to support much more than what the Gathering can offer. Is there some other place that is centrally-located, or near to Garst, that can support a festival and not charge so much that vendors pay high fees and festival goers are free? IMO: this is the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of success or failure of the AO day festival.

  10. To the Eaterie - I agree with you for sure, banjo players might take great photographs - just like an electrician might be a great plumber...but again if they are GREAT at those things as well - then sure, they would be the "right people" as well. I understand you disagreeing with my comment, it wasn't the best comparison to get the point across, a tad bit confusing. ;)

    As for ANON 3:30 - to be totally honest, I am one busy person, just like every other person living on the planet today. :) I will admit, I was not searching out a volunteer opportunity when I was approached to help with the Gathering, but when they shared their vision with me and told me that they wanted MY help because they felt I was the right person for the job - it def. made me want to be a part. I think most people are so busy that they aren't looking to add more to their schedule, but if someone approaches them directly and says, "We want you!" and has good reasons behind why they think you would be great at it - it def. makes you WANT to help and WANT to get involved. Being a leader of a committee is just like being a leader anywhere - you have to inspire people to do what you want them to do - not just ask.

    I also help fundraising for a few other organizations in the county and I have been told that the percentage of people willing to give money is MUCH greater if you ask them directly. To their face...just like the good ol' days. :) They like to meet the person involved, they like to hear what it is all about, be able to ask questions if needed, and get a good feel for what they are giving money to. I think asking for volunteers is the exact same way.

    I would be happy to volunteer for Annie Oakley days in the future, if it doesn't interfer with any other obligations I might have and if I would be the best person for the help needed.

    I didn't search to help because I had heard that people had offered the committee suggestions and they were turned down. Suggestions that I felt could have helped the event and really could have made a different. I will admit, this automatically turned me off from volunteering. I'm not saying that was the right thing, but if I am going to give hours of my already precious time away (we have to admit - time is precious these days) - I want to make sure it is going to be used in a way I felt was going to make a difference.

    I am 100% confident you would hear the same answer from anyone who assisted with the Gathering event. Anyone I talked with said they didn't want to see it fail or end. It is a huge thing for our community and of course if people are involved in the community - they wouldn't want to see that.

    I agree, the time for a solution has come. I am not sure if you are a part of the AO committee or not, but I would suggest if you are to at least ask the community to come to a meeting to discuss ways to fix this. Make it public and try to get as many people there. An ad in the local paper is just not enough in this day in age. Personally, I don't read our local paper. I find my info from facebook, blogs, internet, and other sources...most younger people do this as well, so very important. Again, busy people normally don't have time or should I say "make the time" to read the paper anymore. They want fast and easy info. Ask people directly - people you feel could really bring something to the table. Anyone for that matter. Once you get everyone in one room, you can then decide who is the best person for each job, and if you don't have those people - do some more searching, but still allow the others to volunteer in other ways - find out what they are good at and put them to it. If you decide to do this, I will def. be there to see if I can help in anyway. :)

  11. My question is why the Darke County Tourism Director sought out the "Gathering Committee" to give a grant to - why was the AO Committee not sought out as well? Could it be that Darke County Visitors Bureau is all about downtown? Just makes one wonder how this really all came about. ALl the above comments are great - but it takes a lot of time to volunteer and I would suggest to all of you that instead of writing about it - put your words into action and get involved to get Annie Oakley days back to the way it was - SUCCESSFUL...

  12. If you look up the Visitors Bureau press releases, anyone could apply for the grant. The maximum award was somewhere around $500 or less. The AO could have applied for the grant but it appears they did not. Just like all other grants, you have to apply for them to receive them. Many other people also received a grant. I would think $500 is not a lot of money in trying to put on a festival.

    If I recall correctly, Whirlpool gave the AO people $3000 and I doubt the Gathering did not much...probably a couple of hundred at most!

  13. Tha AO committee did apply for the grant and was denied.

  14. i remember when it was all on the garst grounds and it was full....sure parking was a little tight but now there is the old hamilton lot to use as well and maybe greenville transit could provide constant transportation from like walmart..the gathering was good but all it did was take away business from the fairgrounds....i was told it cost $6000 to rent the fairgrounds...maybe the county/fiarboard needs to lower thier rates a little then in return these fastivals could charge less which would attract more people....

  15. The grant provided by The Darke County Bureau of Tourism was a fund which, I believe, the state provided to stimulate the creation of "NEW" tourism opportunities. The guidelines set forth within the structure of the grant allowed those utilizing it to use the resource for the establishment of new tourism. This automatically would disqualify the AO Festival to my understanding, as I did not directly see the wording and guidelines on this particular grant. Functioning in the marketing realm of the Gathering organization, it was outside of my area of focus.

    As for granting opportunities which may assist teh Annie Oakley Committee in their efforts to regain momentum, I am sure if one where to look around and do a bit of research, they too could find some resources to capitalize on. I know in the event of me having researched some potential ideas I have foreseen to contribute to Annie Oakley, there have already been a few available options which have sprang forth which may be called on.

    I do feel as if there are a number of individuals who frequently comment in regards to granting monies on this and other forums who may be a bit misguided in their understanding of what exactly a grant is and how they function. If it is desirous of those who frequent this site, I would love to relay my knowledge on the subject to the best of my abilities.

    When approaching any subject, I feel it is benefcial for us all to come to some understand of that matter so we may function to the best of our abilities in advancing any particular cause.

    Enabling our ability to come together as a society to disseminate information and ideas should be one of our greatest assets when it comes to online forums such as Darke Jouranl. When we approach this interaction from a stand point of either offering or seeking unbiased and well-informed information, I feel we allow these forums to work at their best in doing so.

    As this is a community forum, we stand to function as a community. Breaking down the word community, we get two roots- COMMON and UNITY. In light of treading on the very nature of community, it benefits us all to set aside our differences; in view, in opinion, in knowledge, in background, and in personality. Instead, we must focus on how we can discover what we, as a community, have in COMMON, in order to establish a better UNITY.

    Quite simply- Love one another. We are a community and a family.

    *As an aside, Bill Gunckle and I have come to the agreement that he and I could meet in order to consider ideas for the Annie Oakley festival. Nothing would tickle my heart more than to see this long running symbol of our history and our community returned to a situation which would thrive and grow.

    From my initial perspective, without having addressed the AO committee and gaining the full benefit of their experience on the matter, four key components exist which need to be reshaped to regain footing and breathe new life into Annie Oakley:


    These are the basic principles I hope to explore when the opportunity comes to meet. I am presenting these thoughts to our community in advance, so my intentions be known and most importantly, you can also function within that process.


  17. Anonymous 2:17- care to elaborate? It seems you have a very strong opinion on the subject. A call has been issued to assist the event and I am will to do so. You discount my ideas before they are even presented. Why do you feel my input is somehow invalid?

  18. The AO need some of the "know how" people to attend the meetings. If my tax money is paying your salary and it is in your job description to do what it takes to attract tourism to Darke Co., i.e. Darke County Visitor's Bureau, then you don't get to pick and choose which event to help. You help with all community festivals in the county by staying in touch with each event chairperson. You should have a pretty good idea what festivals are going on and who chairs them in the county you serve. At some level or another, taxpayer's money is involved in every one of these events.

    There are many types of grants available and it is the job of the Darke County Visitor's Bureau to find and assist in getting as much money/assistance as they can to our communities, correct? What is this agency's purpose, if I am wrong?

  19. There are many types of grants available and it is the job of the Darke County Visitor's Bureau to find and assist in getting as much money/assistance as they can to our communities, correct? What is this agency's purpose, if I am wrong?

    If a grant is governmentally funded, they have various departments which determine the guidelines on which recipients receive the money available to each situation. I believe this is to insure there is some amount of fairness in how they are assessed. If the D.C. Bureau where to discriminate in their practices, I am almost 100% positive they would risk some sort of negative repercussions for doing so.

    I know all who are employed by both the Darke County Visitors/Tourism Bureau and Main Street Greenville. All the individuals involved invest a great deal of time, energy, caring and personal resources with the genuine intent to seek opportunities throughout our area for everyone. By merely making this statement, I realize, I am opening up myself for criticism.

    In addition, one can look at the many privately funded grants which have been created and are in existence for organizations to utilize. The governing and utilization of these funds are generally at the discretion of the organizations which create them. Nevertheless, guidelines and laws exist which over see there administration and keep them from running unchecked.

    Privatized grants may present a good opportunity for the Annie Oakley Committee to utilize. Here is just one place to start a hunt for available funds:

  20. Also of a helpful when targeting an event market:

  21. Just Google the tourism grant...."The program is designed to encourage creation or expansion of special events and programs that will bring visitors from more than 50 miles away to Darke County, and encourage overnight stays."

    Was the AOF expanding? The Gathering was a new creation.

    Doesn't most of the VB funding come from the Hotel Tax...the tax that visitors pay and not residents?

  22. the Grant from the Tourism department is funded by the local bed tax, which also is the sole purpose of the grant- to attract visitors from over 50 miles in hope that they will spend the nite and replenish the funds.
    The Garst event was awarded a grant of somewhere around $500-
    The hotels on Friday and Saturday nite were not full (or even close)
    A pretty grant proposal and having the right people on the committe/board always helps

  23. further proof our Tourism bureau is a joke
    The Darke County Visitors Bureau released the names of the recipients of the 2011 Darke County Tourism Grant, today. This year, five recipients were chosen. They are: Darke County Historical Society for A Gathering at The Museum (few if any hotel sales- though a new event); Versailles High School Alumni Association for FareFest 2011 (why would anyone stay in a hotel if they are from here?); Ohio Gourd Society for The Ohio Gourd Show (some hotel sales); Greenville Girls Softball Association for The Treaty City Shootout Softball Tournament (tons of hotel sales yet poor grant writing) and Darke Countians for Wildlife Conservation for the Bluebird Festival (dismal -no visitors)

  24. Anon: Unless the applications are public information, how you are able to comment on the applicants' grant writing skills? Are you on the committee?

    Did you talk to the hotel managers? if so, who did you talk to?

    Since you are making claims, were are the numbers to back your statements up?

    Are you saying you can predict how many visitors would come to a new event before it happens? It sounds like sour grapes.


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