Grassy Run Rendezvous draws thousands to Williamsburg park

May 1st, 2009    Author: Marsha Mundy    Filed Under: News

The largest outdoor historical event in the Cincinnati area brought visitors from all over to the Village of Williamsburg from April 24 to April 26.

The 17th Annual Grassy Run Rendezvous was held in the Community Park and president of the organization Ron Shouse was pleased with the turnout.

“This is the largest turnout ever for Grassy Run,” said Shouse. “We had 245 participants dressed in period clothing and 115 camps were set up this year. A total of 10 states were represented and we had tremendous support from area organizations.”

The White Oak Dancers, a Native American group from Fort Ancient Ohio, perform traditional drumming and dancing at the Grassy Run Rendezvous.
The event, which began in 1988, has grown in numbers and popularity over the years.

Grassy Run Rendezvous takes place near where the Battle of Grassy Run occurred in the spring of 1792. Frontiersman Simon Kenton led his men against the Indian warrior Techumseh in a fight over stolen horses.

"We were first here in the park in 2002," said Shouse. "In 1999 we moved our event to Williamsburg and were first set up at Harmony Hill. The Williamsburg council members, Mayor Mary Ann Lefker and the public works department really roll out the red carpet for us. They provide us with anything we need. It's nice to be needed."

Mayor Lefker echoed his sentiments during a council meeting on April 23.

"We are happy to have you there," said Lefker. "It's good for Williamsburg to have Grassy Run here every year."

According to Shouse, there were 12 Boy Scout Troops from the U. S. Grant District participating this year.

"There were 175 boys and we had two units from the American Heritage Girls helping also," said Shouse. "The Grange served food all weekend, the American Heritage Girls helped with the candle making and the Boy Scouts Venturing Group was a great help."

In addition, Clermont County Senior Services shuttled visitors from parking lots of Williamsburg Schools to and from the event.

"We received a grant from Duke Energy for our school day program and the Williamsburg Fire Department provided parking for our guests," said Shouse.

The annual school day program held on Friday had about 1,000 fewer children due to Ohio school testing, but still had more than 400 children present for the preview day. Shouse is working with area first and second grade teachers for an educational program in the future.

"We had a lot of home schoolers here Friday," said Shouse. "If we can teach one child something about history, we have done our job."

Visitors encountered historical figures throughout the weekend who shared their stories. Craftsmen, using period tools, taught visitors the fine art of creating guns, powder horns, candles, beads and cooking.

"This is a great program," said Mary Muchel, a re-enactor from Cincinnati.

Mary and Ray Munchel, of Cincinnati, have been coming to Grassy Run for eight years and are new members to the organization. Mary Munchel is a doll maker who creates cloth dolls dressed in period clothing.

James Segrist, of Fayetteville, was working on a powder horn. He has been creating powder horns with Schrimshaw engravings for more than three years.

According to one re-enactor, from 1630 to 1930 surveyors used chains measuring in 66 foot lengths to measure land.

"Surveyors would set up lines using the chains," said Orwic Johnston, of Columbus, Indiana. "They were quite accurate with the tools they had to work with."

Johnston is new to Grassy Run, but has been teaching about the old way of surveying for 45 years.

Gunsmith Matt Foster, of Columbus, Ohio, has been making guns for 25 years and explained how gunsmiths made their money.

"Gunsmiths would make the basic gun and have a display in their shop," said Foster. "The customers would select the gun they wanted and the smith would custom fit the gun for their purposes and their size. The fancy stuff added to the guns served a specific purpose and adding the finishing touches was how the smith made his profit."

Foster says it takes him about 40 hours to build a rifle and he has made about 50.

"The weather cooperated with us this year," said Shouse. "To have 85 degree weather during Grassy Run is unheard of. We probably had more than 2,500 people visit us during the weekend and all in all we were happy with the turnout and the weather. It was probably the best year ever."

The event was sponsored by the Duke Energy Foundation and The Clermont Sun.
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