COVINGTON — With the end of summer and the turn of the season approaching, so is the 25th year of the Fort Rowdy Gathering the first weekend in September.
“Fort Rowdy is a celebration of the Ohio frontier and the Covington, Ohio area,” Anita Hawk, publicity chair of the Fort Rowdy Gathering, said. “We hope that more people can learn about the Ohio Frontier and have a good, family-oriented weekend.”
“It is hard to believe that this gathering has been in existence for 25 years,” Annette Miller, 2017 Fort Rowdy Gathering chair person, said in a statement. “It was the brain storming of 20 people, several of those are deceased, some are no longer involved, but one individual has been here the whole duration.” Miller thanked Steve Wright “for being the rock.”
Being held on Saturday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 4, Fort Rowdy features a mixture of modern and frontier style festivities.
“Many changes have occurred during these 25 years, however the emphasis of reenacting the by gone days of the 1700’s frontier life is still strong,” Miller said.
Fort Rowdy is split up with festivities on the park side and festivities on the encampment side are connected by an approximate 200-foot long bridge over Stillwater River. There will be free concerts all weekend.
“We have a Mountain Man encampment,” Hawk said. “We have more modern festivities on the park side with free concerts all week long.”
The Mountain Man encampment will have a pre-Civil War aesthetic, particularly between 1790 up to 1840.
“We do have people that attend that do dress-up,” Hawk said. “Campers are more than happy to answer questions about life on the frontier.”
Opening ceremonies for the 2017 Fort Rowdy Gathering will begin on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 10 a.m. on the main stage in the Covington Community Park. Following the Flag raising, the Covington Marching Band will play the National Anthem. Johanna McGrath will then lead everyone in the singing of God Bless America. The festival committee would like to welcome all state and local dignitaries, the 2017 grand marshals, Ron and Judy Schultz, and the public to the 25th Gathering.
The Covington Kiwanis Club are sponsoring a Children’s Craft tent with the following activities for children: Tin punching, Bead threading, and coloring. Hours of operation of the booth will be Saturday, Sept. 2, noon to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 3, noon to 6 p.m.; and Monday, Sept. 4, noon to 3 p.m.
Lucky the Clown will be twisting balloons. Attendees can catch him on Sept. 4 from 1-4 p.m., Sept. 3 from 1-4 p.m., and Sept. 4 from 1-3 p.m.
Other children’s activities are still being added.
Other activities at Fort Rowdy include the following:
• Visiting the Tradin’ Post
The Fort Rowdy Tradin’ Post will be selling this year’s edition of limited edition medallions featuring an arrowhead shape, reminiscent of the first gathering’s medallion, and commemorates the 25th gathering. The medallions will sell for $5 each. In addition, the Tradin’ Post will be selling T-shirts, sweatshirts, cookbooks, and CDs. Visitors may pick up activity schedules, concession lists, and rules for upcoming contests here.
The annual Fort Rowdy Gathering Auction will be held on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 2 p.m. on the encampment stage. Visitors can get caught up in the excitement of an outdoor auction. There will be a variety of interesting items, including handmade items.
• Performers gathering at Fort Rowdy
There will be free concerts going on all weekend.
On the main stage on Sept. 2, performers include Willow Creek Band at 11:30 a.m., John Kogge at 12:45 p.m., Rum River Blend at 2:15 p.m., Jason Rhodes at 3:45 p.m., Garcia and Scott at 5:15 p.m., and the American Kings at 6:45 p.m.
On the main stage on Sept. 3, there will be a community church service at 10 a.m. and then performers will include Muleskinner at 12:30 p.m., Berachah Valley at 2 p.m., ReFlektion at 3:30 p.m., and Dulahan at 5:30 p.m.
Finishing up on Sept. 4, the main stage performers in Mad River Railroad at 11:15 a.m., Ramblin’ Rovers at 12:45 p.m., and Rock Islan Plow Company at 2:30 p.m.
At the encampment stage, concerts include multiple performances from Ramblin’ Rovers, Bettina Solas, and Pathfinders. For more information or the schedule of events, visit the Tradin’ Post during the Fort Rowdy Gathering.
• Lots to do in the encampment
Visitors can watch the frontier games and canoe race, make a purchase from one of Fort Rowdy’s period vendors, or make a swap with one of the gathering’s blanket traders. Attendees will also have the opportunity to listen to great entertainers on the encampment stage. Questions about frontier life are welcome as Fort Rowdy’s campers are more than willing to educate visitors, share their knowledge of the frontier, and explain their camp set-ups.
• Vote for your favorite photo
Stop by the Tradin’ Post to vote for your favorite photo for the 2017 photo contest. Photos will be of the 2016 Gathering. All entries must be turned in by noon on Sept. 2 at the Fort Rowdy booth by the Friendship Bridge. Public voting will begin Sept. 2 at 1 p.m. and will end Sept. 4 at noon. The winner will be announced Sept. 4 at the closing of the festival. All entries become the property of Fort Rowdy Gathering, and may be used in future marketing of the Gathering.
• Unique shopping offered
The gathering will have a wide variety of crafters, vendors, and camp traders on both sides of the river.
Some of the traders in the encampment area include: Dustin Baker, blacksmith; Donnie Vance, merchant; Rhonda Burgess, merchant; Sally’s Primitives; Pathfinders Music; Denver Wilson; Bob Cruikshand, iron wares; Brenda Mathews, blanket trader; and Kevin Reedy, blanket trader.
Some of the vendors on the park side include: Ramey Israel, blacksmith; Pat Sampson, crocheted hanging towels, dishcloths, scrubbers; Stitcher’s Cabin, clothing period style, jewelry, hats, and hand stitched leather; Maplewood Farm Gourmet Dips; Grandma’s Soap and Stuff; Amy Thompson, Pink Zebra, scented wax beads, simmering lights; Dawn Shimp, LuLaRoe, Paparazzi Jewelry; and Soaring Raven, handmade flutes and recorded music.
• Concessions to benefit non-profits
The local churches and civic organizations will be providing concessions on the park side, which will be a variety of modern food.
“I would like to thank all the board members, committee chairpersons, their families, volunteers, and the community for their support in the many ways you contribute,” Miller said. “Without the generous time and money you each give or have given this event would not be possible.”
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336