Gnadenhutten prepares for Pioneer Days

GNADENHUTTEN – This year’s Pioneer Days, to be held on August 6-7, will include a nod to the village’s 250th anniversary on October 9. The pots to be auctioned this year include the date Gnadenhutten was founded by David Zeisberger, 1772-2022.

The front of the jar recognizes the Pioneer Days event. The auction is the biggest fundraiser for Gnadenhutten Historical Park and Museum each year. The pots were again created by Holmes County Pottery, in a kiln.

These are two of the pots that will be auctioned during Pioneer Days.

“It’s being done as they would in those days,” museum curator John Heil said. “They only light their kiln twice a year. We will be auctioning off 10 pots and we also have two cabins up for auction this year.” The cabins were fabricated by Wayne Dyer, of the Port Washington area, and painted by Rosemary Hall, of Dover.

For the first time in a long time, there will be no princess contest. “There hasn’t been interest in it for a few years,” Heil explained. “Children’s activities take up so much time.” But there will be a special activity at 10 a.m. on August 6.

“There will be a wedding at Mission House,” Heil said.

Heil added that he was surprised this year by the attendance. “We’re doing really well,” he said. “I’m surprised at the high gas prices we still get from visitors from Kentucky, Florida and Arizona. People come from far and wide.”

They have also had visitors from Japan, Germany, Australia and the Czech Republic over the years. “The visitor to Japan is a history buff who fell in love with this area,” Heil noted.

The schedule for the two-day event is as follows: August 6 — The courts are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be various vendors and Messdads will run the concession stand; The bean soup will be cooked over an open fire and served with cornbread; Camp from the 1840s with demonstrations and games of the time; 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. — Provisional re-enactment of David Zeisberger and Chief Netawatwees; Noon – Performance by the actors and singers of Trumpet in the Land, Joe Bonamico will follow with a lecture on the link between Trumpet in the Land and Gnadenhutten.

August 8 — Church service at Mission House with Rev. Trevor Biggs; 2:00 p.m. — Crock Auction with auctioneer Bob Hall, arts and crafts will once again be on display with various vendors.

This will be Heil’s last year as a curator as he retires to spend more time with his children and grandchildren.

“This year is my last hurray,” said Heil, who has served as a volunteer for 16 years. “I will pass the torch.

Heil said he has current volunteers who plan to step in and take the helm when he’s finished.

“We’re going to have Apple Butter Days and I’ll help set up the Christmas display and then I’ll be done.” he said. Heil will be busy after his retirement. He enjoys attending his grandson Xander and Liam’s activities, which include cross country and the band in Indian Valley. Xander will be in senior this year and Liam in 8th. “I am also an umpire at Indian Valley for volleyball and basketball. He also helps create the Outreacher, a monthly Christian publication, for the Gnadenhutten, Tuscarawas, Port Washington and Newcomerstown areas.

To volunteer, contact Heil at 330-691-1474. Donations can be sent to Jane Miller at PO Box 498, Gnadenhutten, OH, 44629 or Heil at 156-Spring St. Gnadenhutten, OH, 44629.

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