Walkers Flock To Path

ST. MARYS — A peek into a different era, music, food, crafts and an opportunity to take a walk were all in store for attendees of the 43rd annual Walk with Nature and the fourth annual Fall Festival in Memorial Park on Sunday.

A slew of area residents took advantage of the sunny skies and mild temperature to enjoy the annual walk and festival.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Organizer Stan Davis told The Evening Leader. “The crowd has been great.”

This year, the event drew a record number of attendees.

“We’ve had a larger crowd than any other festival,” he said. “We’ve sold out of chili, we had to go get more hot dogs. We’ve had a great turnout. I think everyone is having a good time.”

Festivities kicked off at noon in Memorial Park, with the opening of the craft show and farmers’ market.

“The crafts are doing great,” Davis said. “We’ve got some nice, quality crafts here.”

Entertainment in Memorial Park began with Paula Schumm at 1 p.m. and Vernon McIntyre’s Appalachian Band, whose appearance was sponsored by the College Community Arts Council, played from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The event’s car show, which began with judging at 2 p.m. and finished with awards at 3 p.m. at the High Street Shelterhouse, also saw a substantial increase in entries this year.

“The car show got probably triple the amount it usually has,” he said.

Throughout the day, attendees could also partake in pumpkin painting, crafts, spend some time on the bouncy toys or walk to Arts Place to view a collection of historic photos of St. Marys.

“We’re trying to make this a nice, homey fall festival,” Davis said of Fall Festival.

The Walk with Nature began with registration in Memorial Park and the trail followed the towpath from Memorial Park to Lock 14.

Walkers passed three re-enactor groups on the hike — the canal boat era re-enactors on the canal boat in Memorial Park, the Civil War re-enactors in Memorial Park and the rendezvous group a half mile north of Memorial Park on the towpath.

At the end of the trail, walkers were greeted with bottled water and yogurt.

“The Aktion Club is handing out water and yogurt,” Davis said. “Dannon donated the yogurt and the hospital donated the bottled water.”

The event is possible through the coordination of several area organizations, Davis said, including the St. Marys Kiwanis, the Heritage Trails Park District, the St. Marys Community Partnership, the Miami and Erie Canal Corridor Association and the St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce, among others.

“All kinds of people work on this,” he said, noting his appreciation for all the help he receives in putting the event together.