The 19th annual Grassy Run Heritage Rendezvous scheduled for April 29 to May 1 has been canceled due to flooding at the venue, Community Park in Williamsburg.
“It’s a shame,” Ron Shouse, event organizer for the Grassy Run Historical Arts Committee, said about potentially having to cancel the event. “It’s only the second time in 19 years.”
Community Park experienced flooding as a result of the high volume of rain this month. The meadows and campsites used for the rendezvous were partially covered in water after last week’s rain, and Shouse said about 20 of the camping sites were underwater.
Shouse tossed and turned with the decision April 25, but with more rain in the forecast and the park already flooded, he and other committee members made the decision to cancel.
Because a lot of people were coming to the event from out of state, Shouse said he had to make the decision several days in advance.
Shouse also said logistically, having the event would have been nightmare. Not only did the flooding disrupt the event areas, but the fields used for parking were also saturated. Shouse said he looked into shuttles, but the extra money wasn’t available to fund them.
“I am not real happy about it,” Shouse said about canceling. “I live for this event every year and this is something I don’t relish. A lot of work goes into this.”
The annual event features three days of festivities all centered around the Battle of Grassy Run. The battle, which took place April 10, 1972, involved a clash between the white settlers and Native Americans. The battle was fought on land along the East Fork of the Little Miami River, opposite of the mouth of the Grassy Run.
The Grassy Run Historical Arts Committee formed in 1988 to keep the story of Grassy Run alive. The committee plans the Grassy Run Heritage Rendezvous, and Shouse said the event has gotten so large it draws visitors from several states.
Activities and entertainment at the festival include story tellers, Native American dancers, blacksmith and gunsmith demonstrations, weavers, musicians and a children’s area. Shouse also said he had additional activities planned for this year including historical speakers, a fashion show with clothes from the period and more children’s activities.
“Ultimately this is a family event,” Shouse said. “We want to give the families a chance to come out with their children and learn a little about their history.”
Although the 19th annual event will not take place, Shouse is already looking toward the 20th anniversary of the festival and said he wants to make the birthday special. He said any money he saved by canceling the event will be put toward next year’s celebration.
“We’ve been thrown a lot of curves,” Shouse said about the planning committee. “We will persevere through this and we’ll be back next year, hopefully with some good grants to do a little more for the 20th.”