Welcome to Plain City, Ohio, setting for my “Plain City Peace” series and home of the Biggest Little Festival in Ohio, the Shekinah Festival and Auction.
This year marked the 36th annual celebration held at the Shekinah Christian School, and I’ve meant to attend for at least 15 of those years. This year I’d been bugging, er, reminding my husband for weeks that Friday, September 11 was the big day. Delicious pulled pork dinner! Hot air balloon launch just before sunset! Preview of quilts to be auctioned off the next day! Silent auction!
Collectibles, furniture, and crafts, all to be sold to the highest bidder come Saturday! All proceeds benefit the school.
Of course, after a stretch of sweltering, dry September days, the weather changed to cool with steady rain, but I’d made a commitment to my readers, and besides, do you think my husband was going to let me off the hook that easily? We decided to go unless there was lightning, and happily there was none. We grabbed an umbrella, headed to 10040 Lafayette-Plain City Road, and hoped for the best. Admission and parking were free and free golf cart rides were available for those who didn’t want muddy shoes. Two huge striped tents just off the blacktop provided ample, dry dinner seating for hundreds.
We enjoyed smoky pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, chips, Cole slaw, and a beverage for $9.50. The food line was set up in an outbuilding, with the auction and Friday night concert held in the school itself, so inclement weather was only a slight factor. Sadly, the sunset balloon launch was cancelled; I didn’t return the next morning to see if they tried again at sunrise.
I did return to the festival on Saturday, though. Although it was still cool (and oh, so muddy in the parking area), the weather cleared. Pony rides, a zip line, a bounce house, petting zoo, face painting, children’s crafts, and the barrel train were available for the kids, who enjoyed the school playground, too.
I saw apple butter stirred and funneled into jars to sell.
Produce, fry pies, and other scrumptious baked goods in the Amish tradition, homemade ice cream, a chicken barbecue dinner, jams, craft vendors with Ohio State Buckeye merchandise and much more were all on display.
I dropped in to the auction for a bit; the bidding was lively. Then I strolled back to where the quilts were displayed, and here is where the Amish heritage really shines. The quilts were gorgeous, as pretty as the blue-ribbon winners I saw at the Ohio State Fair.
I stopped last at the baked goods sale and purchased a couple of fry pies ($2.25 apiece) and a small grape cream pie ($6.00) baked on site, a new taste treat for me but a seasonal favorite of Plain City residents in late summer.
Do I recommend the Shekinah Festival? I certainly do, rain … or Shekinah! It’s a safe, clean, free, and kid-friendly event. You won’t go home hungry!
If you’d like to attend next fall, there’s plenty more to do and see in Plain City, with shopping, hotels, and restaurants in nearby Dublin and Marysville. See you there!
Enter to win books 1 & 2 in Stephanie’s Plain City Peace series below!
Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, site of a once-thriving Amish community. She gleans ideas for her novels The Bargain, Across the Wide River, and The Light Across the River from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio.
Her latest release is The Bachelor.
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