Despite the rainy weather, Plain City celebrated its rich history of Amish and Mennonite heritage during the fifth annual Der Dutchman Heritage Days on Saturday, May 17.
The festival included a variety of craftsman demonstrating the different trades of yesterday. The Calvin family shelled corn using antique farm equipment, Anne Hatter used the freshly ground corn making corn pancakes over an open fire, and blacksmith Tim Shooks worked his forge and anvil to make horseshoes.
The music played on throughout the day as it rained off and on. The band, “Clear Run,” sang and played tunes from the past, including gospel, oldies, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and John Denver as people waited for the rain to slow down.
Plain City Mayor Sandy Adkins said Heritage Days is about tradition, the past and the history.
“I think that’s the key — our roots where we come from. We are such in an age of technology, we sort of lose sight of where we came from,” she said. “It wasn’t easy in the past to make a living and provide for your family. It’s those things we need to take time to appreciate.”
The festival was originally the brainchild of long-time resident Jerry Miller as a way to remember the area’s Amish heritage. The first group of Amish settled in Plain City in 1896 and grew into a thriving community. Today, many families in Plain City can trace their lineage to these prosperous Amish farmers.
Event organizer Wayne Nisly said he tries to add something new each year.
“I don’t want to be a flea market,” he said. “I want to relive our heritage. That is the intent of the arts, crafts and food.”
Heritage Days is sponsored by local businesses Der Dutchman and Carlisle Gifts.
On Saturday, children enjoyed pony carousel rides, a petting zoo, bounce house and clowns making balloons. Two young Amish boys drove a miniature horse wagon ride and a miniature buggy ride.
Attendees also delighted in food carving from Der Dutchman, glass making, quilt making, wood crafting and an Amish covered wagon ride driven by two North American Spotted Draft horses, Ben and Bess.
In the mist of the mud and the muck, onlookers cheered on a 1860s vintage baseball game featuring the home team, the Plain City Long Johns (or Deitschers), against the traveling “Muffins.” The game was played with 1860s uniforms and rules, and with wooden bats and no gloves.
Zach Wurschmidt, who served as the Long Johns’ captain, said the game was a good time despite the weather.
“They wouldn’t have canceled it in the 1860s,” he said. “It’s fun.”
For more information on this event for next year, contact Nisly at (614) 204-8448.