GNADENHUTTEN -- Ohio's oldest existing settlement at Gnadenhutten was founded by German Americans and Lenape Native Americans in 1772 and today is home to nearly 1,300 people. Every August, residents of the village and visitors from the region enjoy Pioneer Days, an annual fundraising event sponsored by the Gnadenhutten Historical Society.
Pioneer Days is Aug. 1-2 and features a pre-1840 encampment where guests can step back in time while camps demonstrate skills and accoutrement relative to the period. Guests can listen to stories told by campers that remain in character for the weekend and enjoy simple clothing, woodworking, sewing, cooking over an open fire, music, crafts, and games while they meander through the grounds.
This year's event will feature two presentations on Saturday by Dan Cutler, an Ohio historian with an active interest in the Ohio country of the 18th century. His fascination with the dramas and adventures of that time and place led him to participate in various living history programs and reenactments. His presentation will feature Chief Logan of the Mingo tribe.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the pioneer encampment. This year's crock design will feature this anniversary. There will be 10 crocks made especially for this event auctioned on Sunday at 2 p.m.
New this year is the portrayal of David Zeisberger preaching to the Indians. It is being presented by Brent Heishman (David Zeisberger) and Trevor Biggs (Chief Netawatowes) of Newcomerstown's Delaware Days Festival. There will be two performances on Saturday -- one at 2 p.m. and one at 7 p.m. which will be around a campfire.
Also new this year is the Colonel Crawford Company. These re-enactors portray the life of the common soldier and his family during the American Revolutionary War. They set up camp using accoutrements similar to those used by men and women in the 18th century. During both days they will be telling visitors the story of Colonel William Crawford whose story is intertwined with that of the Gnadenhutten massacre.
The event will also feature crafts, pioneer craftsmen, a crock auction, and a morning church service. The museum will be open and there will be a concession stand both days.
Pioneer Days is held at the Gnadenhutten Historical Society's Gnadenhutten Memorial Park and Museum at 352 S. Cherry St. and admission is free.
For information, contact John Heil at 330-691-1474.