COVINGTON — Covington’s annual Fort Rowdy Gathering will return this Labor Day weekend — Saturday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 2 — bringing with it a mix of modern festivities with a side of the Ohio Frontier to Covington Community Park.
Annie the Highway Cow will be stopping by the Fort Rowdy Gathering, along with another popular attraction the Fort Rowdy Gathering Board is excited about.
“We’re bringing back the hay maze,” Anita Hawk, of the Fort Rowdy Gathering Board, said. “We haven’t had it for several years.”
Other contests were also added this year, including the Spelling and History Bees that will be held on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 2 p.m. Signups for the Spelling and History Bees are at the Main Stage at 1:45 p.m. that same day.
While both sides of the Fort Rowdy Gathering offer live music, vendors, food, and other activities, the Encampment provides the added twist of Frontier fun to the festivities. While more modern vendors will be found in the main area of the Covington Community Park, visitors who go over the Friendship Bridge to the Encampment will find a blacksmith, handspun yarns, weavers, wooden wagons, campwares, blanket traders, more.
Here’s everything you need to know for this year’s Fort Rowdy Gathering:
Opening ceremonies set for Aug. 31
Opening ceremonies for the 2019 Fort Rowdy Gathering will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, on the main stage in the Covington Community Park. Amazing Grace will be played on the bagpipes by Kim Trytten and Sean Schultzy. Following the Flag raising, the Covington Marching Band will play the National Anthem. The festival committee would like to welcome all state and local dignitaries, the 2019 grand marshals, area Vietnam Era Veterans, and the public to the 27th Gathering.
Free parking and shuttle service
Parking for the Fort Rowdy Gathering will be at a Covington High School parking lot. Please follow the signs to the correct lot. Shuttles will run every 30 minutes between the school and the Fort Rowdy Gathering. Shuttle schedule is:
• Saturday, Aug. 31, 9:30 a.m. through 8:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Sept. 1, 9:30 a.m. through 8 p.m.
• Monday, Sept. 2, 9:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m.
Fort Rowdy is handicap-accessible. The Friendship Bridge will accommodate wheelchairs. There is limited handicap parking in the Covington Community Park.
Annie the Highway Cow and friends
Annie and her friends will be attending the Gathering all three days. Children and families are encouragedto come meet Annie, her animal friends, and her human. Pick up a souvenir or two to support their care.
Children’s Activity tent returns
The Covington Kiwanis Club will be once again sponsoring a Children’s Activity tent. They are pleased to announce that the Rowdy Town Hay Maze will return. Additional activities for children include tin punching, beading, and coloring. The Kiwanis tent activities are free for children 10 and under. The Children’s Activity tent hours are from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and then 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday.
Stop by for a chat, get information or do some shopping. The Fort Rowdy Tradin’ Post will be selling this year’s edition of limited-edition medallions featuring a turtle shape commemorates the 27th Gathering. The medallions will sell for $5 each. In addition, the Tradin’ Post will be selling T-shirts, sweatshirts, cookbooks, and CDs. You may pick up activity schedules, concession lists, and rules for upcoming contests here.
The annual Fort Rowdy Gathering Auction will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, on the Encampment Stage. Come get caught up in the excitement of an outdoor auction. There will be a variety of interesting items, from handmade items from the encampment and vendors, items for young and old, serious and funny. There’s always lots of unique items. Join them as auctioneer Joe Sampson presents an interesting and lively event.
In the Encampment
There are many things to do and see in the encampment. Come watch the frontier games and canoe race, make a purchase from one of the period vendors, or make a swap with one of their blanket traders. Listen to great entertainers on the Encampment Stage. Questions about frontier life are welcome. The campers are always willing to share their knowledge of the frontier and explain their camp set-ups.
Stop by the Tradin’ Post to enter their photo contest or vote for your favorite photo. Entries should be of the 2018 Gathering, and must be a 5” x 7”, unframed, and need to be turned in by no later than noon Saturday at the Fort booth by the Friendship Bridge. Entries must have the photographer’s name and phone number on the back of the photo. Public voting will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, and will end Monday at noon. The winner will be announced Monday 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.
The Gathering is currently selling tickets for a 50/50 drawing, with a maximum prize of $10,000. Tickets are $20 each, and only 1,000 tickets will be available. The amount of the grand prize will be determined by the amount of tickets sold. Drawing will be held on Nov. 16. Winner is responsible for any taxes. Tickets are available at the Trading Post during the Gathering or from any Fort Rowdy Board member. For more information, contact Annette at 937-214-1599 or Keri at 937-570-8548.
The Fort Rowdy Gathering is having a gun raffle. The drawing will be held on Monday, Sept. 2, at the close of the Gathering. The gun is a Sig Saur 365XL, 9mm, with a 12-round mag, and is optics ready. This model has only been on the market three months. Tickets are $10 each, and only 100 tickets will be sold. Tickets may be purchased at Uniforms Plus in Piqua, at the Tradin’ Post during the Gathering, or from any Fort Rowdy Board member. You must be at least 21 years old to purchase a ticket. Winner must be in compliance with federal and state laws and applicable local ordinances. For more information, text Ben at 937-418-3012, or call Annette at 937-214-1599. All proceeds benefit the Fort Rowdy Gathering.
Spelling Bee and History Bee
The Fort Rowdy Encampment will host a Good Old-Fashioned Spelling Bee and an Ohio Pioneer History Bee on Saturday, Aug. 31, from 2-3 p.m.
The Old-Fashioned Spelling Bee divisions will be children going into grades 3-6, grades 7-12, and adult (anyone 18 or over). This is a not-to-be-missed event. Kids love the Spelling Bees, which encourage fortitude, grit, and confidence in those who participate.
The Spelling Bee will include chalkboards, chalk, washcloth erasers, and a variety of words, especially chosen for those specific age groups. Covington’s J.R. Clarke Library’s Director will lead and encourage all participants to “spell out-loud, so others can hear you!”
Winners in all categories will receive the new Fort Rowdy medallion, especially crafted for this Labor Day weekend. Word sheets used to begin watch age division may be picked up at J.E. Clarke Public Library.
Fort Rowdy Encampment will also be holding an Ohio Pioneer History Bee! The questions for the History Bee will be from histories of Miami/Darke Counties and the Village of Covington and the surrounding area. There will be two divisions of this bee: Children going into grades 7-12 and adults (ages 18 and over).
If you are interested, please see the local history books in the J.R. Clarke Alcove or refer to these websites:
In order to narrow down the time-period, most questions are from 1800’s through the Great Depression. Winners will also receive a 2019 Fort Rowdy medallion.
Sign-up to participate in either or both of these Bees at the Main Stage at 1:45 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31.
Unique shopping available
The Fort Rowdy Gathering will have a wide variety of crafters, vendors, trade demonstrators, and camp traders on both sides of the river.
Some of the merchants, demonstrators, and traders in the Encampment area are:
• Baker’s Primitive Candles – Rebecca Baker
• Mountain Man Blacksmith – Dustin Baker
• Sally’s Primitive’s – clothing, accessories, blankets, etc. — Dawn Lowman
• Uncle Jimmy’s Trades – wooden rockers, wagon wheels, more – James Moody
• Crooked Finger Weaving – sashes, leg straps, haversacks, etc. – Bruce Renner
• Medicinal Spinner – hand spun yarn – Brittany Trask
• David Webb & Cheryl Clark – clothes and camp wares
• Soaring Raven – song flutes and CD’s
• Denver Wilson – camp wares
• Jeremiah’s Trading Post – candy, camp wares – Mathew Delaney
Other vendors coming to the Fort Rowdy Gathering include:
• Doterra — essential oils, bracelets, time out chairs, CBD oils
• Grandma’s Soap & Stuff — soap, tea
• Pat Sampson — crocheted towels, dishcloths, scrubbies
• Stitchers — cabin leather, clothes
• Box Maker — wooden items, boxes
• Libby Wenrick — scrunchies, apple watch scrunchie bands, aprons
For your taste buds
The local churches and civic organizations have been working hard to bring the finest sampling of foods. The aroma of homemade goodies will lure visitors to the Fort Rowdy Gathering where they can taste a wide variety of foods. Come down to the Fort Rowdy Gathering for lunch, dinner, dessert, or a snack.
The 2019 food concessions includes:
• St. Johns Luthern Church: cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, rye bread, coffee, water, snow cones
• American Kodokwan Institute: Texas tenderloins, chips, pop
• Susie’s Big Dipper: ice cream, apple dumplings, rootbeer floats, drinks
• Boy Scout Troop 76: chili cheese bratts, mets, dratts, hot dogs dinner plate (mashed potatoes, saurekraut), nachos and cheese, loaded nachos, pop
• Covington Christian Church: IBC Rootbeer, sugar waffles, chicken and noodles, cider, pop
Pie Baking Contest
Pull out your recipe cards and start baking. The Fort Rowdy Pie and Cookie Baking Contests will be held on Saturday, Aug. 31.
1. Pie categories are: Apple, Peach, Cherry, Berry, Pecan, Other, and Men’s entries.
2. All pies must be double crusted, lattice, or crumb, with the exception of Pecan.
3. No meringues.
4. Pies must be in disposable pie pans (no pans will be returned — refer to rule number 6).
5. There is a $1 entry fee per pie (you may enter as many times as you like).
6. Pies may be signed in between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, in the large shelter. Judging will be held at noon.
7. All pies entered will be auctioned off on Saturday, Aug. 31.
8. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded during the auction.
9. First place in each category will receive a Fort Rowdy medallion and a ribbon. Second and third place winners will receive a ribbon.
10. Best overall pie (picked from the first-place pies) will receive a cash prize and a Best of Show ribbon.
Cookie Baking Contest
The Fort Rowdy Gathering has a new contest for bakers this year! The Fort Rowdy Cookie Baking Contest will be held on Saturday, Aug. 31. The rules are:
1. Categories are: Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Sugar, and No-Bake.
2. There need to be nine cookies from same recipe on a disposable plate per entry (no plates will be returned).
3. There is a $1 entry fee per entry (you may enter as many times as you like).
4. Cookies may be signed in between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31st, in the large shelter. Judging will be held at noon.
5. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded during the auction.
6. First place in each category will receive a Fort Rowdy medallion and a ribbon. Second and third place winners will receive a ribbon.
7. Best overall cookies (picked from the first-place cookies) will receive a cash prize and a Best of Show ribbon.
8. All cookies entered will be auctioned off at the Fort Rowdy Auction, Saturday, Aug. 31.
Sunday worship services
At 9am September 1st, there will be a Sunday morning worship service, led by Carl Ward, at the Mountain Man Encampment stage. The public is invited to attend. Then, at 10 a.m., a Community Service will be held at the Main Stage in the Park, led by the Covington Community Church.
The first and second editions of the Fort Rowdy Gathering cookbooks will be for sale at the Tradin’ Post for $12 each. The Friends of the Fort Rowdy Gathering Cookbooks, contain recipes, stories, and photos from great cooks and storytellers.
The Fort Rowdy Gathering Encampment Officers would like to thank Mega City Fire, for the use of fire extinguishers in the camping area.
Due to the village’s dog ordinance, dogs are not permitted in the Covington Park during the Fort Rowdy Gathering. Service dogs are allowed.
Encampment quiet times
In order for campers to enjoy quiet time with their families, access to the Encampment area will be closed promptly at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Only guests escorted by registered campers will be allowed into camp after that time. The Encampment will open again on Sunday and Monday at 10 a.m.
A Big Round of Applause
The Gathering’s Board of Directors would like to thank everyone who make the Gathering possible, whether it’s volunteering, donations of materials, or financial support. Your help allows the Fort Rowdy Gathering to continue.