For over half a century, the Greene County Historical Society has brought in vendors, encampments and various forms of entertainment, including the Civil War reenactors for their annual Harvest Festival. The two day event, which took place on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8 usually brings in, “over 2,000 people” during the course of the weekend according to Jeanette Martin, who served as the event coordinator for the two day festival.
“We have retail vendors, we have food vendors, we also have some reenactors and some demonstrators set up for the weekend. We have somebody from the local apiary this year selling honey, we have a fabrication company make metal signs, hand crafts, wood crafts, so just a variety,” Martin said.
According to Martin, the reenactors and demonstrators have had a signficant role in the hsitory of the festival.
“The reenactors have all been established here longer than I have, they’ve been coming for years and years doing it for us, and a lot of people come specifically to see some of the reenactors, like the one Native American reenactor, Ghost in the Head. He’s very popular, draws a good crowd,” Martin said.
‘Ghost in the Head,’ known officially as Colonel Tod Johnson, also spoke on his role in the festival, as well as his tenure with the Historical Society and what it has consisted of.
“I’ve probably been here for over 20 years, I think I’ve been here longer than anybody on staff.” Johnson said. “I do a lot of the educational programs when we have school tours. I come to almost every event. I just feel very much at home here.”
Johnson made an emphasis in noting how this event and this group is so special to him, saying that he doesn’t see “the people of Greene County as people I am working with but I see the people of Greene County as my friends.” Johnson also mentioned that he could attend events like this at other locations in the state and make three times as much as he is making here, but identifies the comradery and intimacy of this community as to why he loves where he is.
Another one of the reenactors who held down one of the taverns was Richard Baker, who serves on the board of directors for the Historical Society, described this year’s event as one of the most “elaborate years” the Historical Society has put together. This included the authenticity of the wardrobes, artifacts, rations and even taverns of the day.
“What we have here is a rendition of an 18th-century tavern, there was one about every mile along route-40 back in the late 1700’s through the 1800’s and even the 1900’s. This is a little more on the trading-post side right now,” Baker said, while also commenting on what seemed to be the most popular facet of his tavern, which was its large variety of aged firearms.
“This year we decided to go all-out and put together our own little gun-show down here, so we have everything here dating back to the late 1600’s to the present 20th-century.” Baker said.
According to Baker, a lot of the purchases made on said firearms came from the reenactors’ prior history in French and Indian war reenactments.
Baker concluded by mentioning a possible “bigger event” coming to the Historical Society next year. For information regarding all of their events for the remainder of 2023, information can be found on their website under the events tab.