The Fourth of July provides us an opportunity to celebrate our independence as the United States of America. Our national holiday also provides an opportunity to reflect on the courage and strength of will demonstrated by the colonial leaders who drafted and signed our famous Declaration of Independence.
While the first few lines are more famous, the closing sentence provides a clear view of their understanding of what it takes to be truly independent.
Little Sure Shot
The greatest exhibition shooter of all time — male or female — was a young woman from Darke County, Ohio: Annie Oakley (1860–1926).
“The museum has the largest display of Annie Oakley photographs, firearms, and memorabilia anywhere in the world,” says Katie Gabbard, marketing director at the Garst. “An entire wing is dedicated to her, chronicling Annie’s many shooting accomplishments as well as her lesser-known philanthropic endeavors.”
In fact, very few of Annie’s medals and awards survive today, as she had most of them melted down near the end of her life so she could raise money for charity.
Something for everyone
Nothing says summertime more than festivals, and Ohioans are more than ready this year to pack up the wagon and picnic blankets and hit the town for a day of food, fun, and music — all in the name of community spirit and a good time.
Kalida Pioneer Days
Kalida Pioneer Days (Sept. 8–11) holds the distinction of being the oldest Ohio festival, dating back 150 years to the first meeting of the Putnam County Pioneer Association, now known as the Putnam County Historical Society. The event, now co-sponsored by the Kalida Lions Club and the Kalida Firemen’s Association, has become a homecoming of sorts, drawing folks by the thousands.
The hours of bright sunshine that come with scorching Ohio summers often spur people to consider harnessing energy from the sky’s brightest star with rooftop solar panels.
Demarco Deshaies of Rockridge in Hocking County decided to investigate solar as a backup after losing electric service for several days following a devastating February 2022 winter storm.
Cold and creamy
It's no surprise that Ohio ranks in the top 10 of ice cream-producing states. Its rural heritage provides a steady supply of the main ingredient — and several families through history began traditions that remain in place today.
Velvet Ice Cream
Immigrant Joseph Dager arrived in Ohio in 1903 and began making ice cream in Utica in 1914. Within two years, he was producing 200 gallons of ice cream every month, and the creamy, velvety texture inspired the name Velvet Ice Cream.
In 1960, an old grist mill became the company’s permanent home. Ye Olde Mill houses a turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor that opened in 1970 and welcomes 150,000 guests each year.
Having a blast!
What started out as a little backyard celebration just outside the village of Fletcher in Miami County nearly 20 years ago has evolved into an event that everyone can enjoy.
Even their “humble” beginning wasn’t all that insignificant; the event drew between 100 and 150 agricultural business contacts, family, friends, and neighbors. But now, the event has grown to several thousand in attendance — and that doesn’t even include those who watch the show from neighboring private parties or from safe parking spots nearby.
“Ultimately, we do this to make people happy, especially those in our community,” Mike says. “You don’t do this for the money — you do this because you want to make those people happy. That, to me, is the challenge.”
A stroll through this Ohio farm leads you past a lovely formal garden, a koi pond, and two fountains before you reach the medicinal, culinary, and potager gardens.
Ten years ago, the property was an abandoned 1868 Italianate house and two adjacent overgrown lots. After much planning, digging, and planting, Mezzacello now produces high-quality, nutritious food and serves as a learning lab where Bruner and local students test ideas. The name Mezzacello (“little Monticello”) pays homage to another lifelong innovator: Thomas Jefferson, and his agricultural experiments at his iconic Virginia estate.