Annie Oakley Festival is July 26-28
Story by Sarah Allen
Photos courtesy of Annie Oakley Festival
1st picture is of the Annie Oakley Statute that is on display in Greenville at the park located at the intersection of Martin St, Washington Ave, and Broadway.
“Little Miss Sure Shot” — or Annie Oakley — is a staple of American Western history and one of Ohio’s most notable celebrities.
But in Darke County, where she was raised and where she later died, Oakley is even more than that. And every year since 1963, the county has celebrated their most famous daughter with the Annie Oakley Festival.
“She was truly from Darke County,” said Jennifer Peck, the festival’s second vice president and parade chairperson. “She put Greenville on the map.”
Peck described Oakley’s life, saying that she toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and that she also won shooting contests both nationally and around the world.
“She would beat out the men left and right,” Peck said.
She added that Oakley’s father taught her to shoot and that she originally pursued it to help raise money for her family, but then became “a star in her own way,” Peck said.
She further described Oakley as “a very empowering woman.”
Greenville honors Oakley every day throughout the year, with a special section for her in their museum and with an Annie Oakley Memorial Park, Peck added.
But once a year, the city sets aside time to not only celebrate Oakley, but also to come together as a community. This year’s festival is July 26-28 at the south end of the Darke County Fairgrounds.
Peck listed some of the many events, including: shooting contests, an Annie Oakley costume contest, whip artistry demonstrations, live entertainment from local bands, a car show and wiener dog races. She added that there are also “all kinds of vendors,” offering everything from food to antiques.
“It’s a very packed weekend,” Peck said.
Peck added that a K-9 unit demonstration, and that the Miami County Search and Rescue will show festival-goers how they train their dogs.
“We try to include a lot of local people,” she added.
And, of course, Saturday morning will feature the annual Annie Oakley Parade. It will begin at 10:30 a.m. and travel from the fairgrounds to downtown Greenville, according to the festival’s webpage.
“It’s really a neat thing,” Peck said.
She also said that the festival brings together, not only the city of Greenville, but people from across the country.
“I’m amazed at the people who are not from this area but who love Annie Oakley,” she said.
Oakley’s legacy was, indeed, one that went far beyond her shooting prowess. “She was the epitome of what females today look at as a positive role model,” Peck said.
To learn more about the Annie Oakley Festival, visit annieoakleyfestival.org.