Fall Gathering celebrates community focused on helping others

Fall Gathering celebrates community focused on helping others

The annual Winesburg Fall Gathering celebrates great food and community support from people who want to help those around them in need. The auction provides the funds to do just that. The gathering aiding 65 families last year.


The fall air that ushers in the coming autumn season and the changing leaves that are beginning to paint Amish Country shades of red, orange, yellow and green are only two of the joys that will greet patrons heading to the 24th annual Winesburg Fall Gathering on Saturday, Sept. 21 in the village.

The day will begin with a full breakfast at Zion Fellowship Hall at 7 a.m., the softball tournament kicking off a half-hour later at Winesburg Park.

The Dan Kinsley Museum on Main Street will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a tractor display also will begin at 10 a.m. along Main Street. Winesburg Elementary School will host a bounce house for youngsters.

The band, New Beginnings, will perform at 11 a.m. at the auction stage on County Road 160 while the cake walk will begin at noon at Heritage Park School.

At 12:30 p.m. the bluegrass band, High Country, will perform at the auction stage, ushering in the main benefit auction at 2 p.m. There also will be a silent auction beginning at 1:30 p.m.

“We actually have a new area for the main auction that should allow us to make it even bigger and better,” committee member Tim Hostetler said. “We have received permission to close off County Road 160 beside the elementary school, which is going to create a much larger area for us to gather.”

The Winesburg Fire Department will serve a barbecue chicken dinner at 3:30 p.m., and New Beginnings will again take the stage following the benefit auction.

The weekend will get started on Friday, Sept. 20 with sales and giveaways from participating businesses in town, and the softball tournament will begin that evening.

All along Main Street there will be vendors set up selling merchandise that includes antiques, crafts, baked goods and more.

Anyone visiting should not leave hungry. There will be plenty to eat beyond the fire department’s chicken barbecue and the breakfast. Chicken noodles, chili, hand-cranked ice cream, homemade pie, popcorn, fry pies, baked goods, and the popular ham and bean soup that is made in a huge cast iron pot also will be available.

While the joy of the coming fall season is a reason to celebrate the Winesburg Fall Gathering, it also serves a more meaningful purpose.

Each year a committee sends out applications for the Fall Gathering grant, in which people can apply to be the recipient of the funds that are raised through the auction.

The committee sifts through each of the applications and tries to divvy out funds to help as many families as possible throughout the area.

In recent years the auction has assisted dozens of area families, helping them meet medical expenses and other needs.

Hostetler said from donors to buyers, the auction and its ability to connect with local families in need is a complete community effort.

“The people’s lives who will be touched by the generosity of everyone who is involved will be wonderful,” Hostetler said. “We are always so grateful to all of our donors and to everyone who shows up to make this day a success.”

Last year saw the gathering raise $120,500, which was distributed to 65 different families. Hostetler said one example of how the gathering touches lives was when they were able to provide a large amount to a local widow who had recently lost her husband and had four children.

“Nobody should have to go through grief alone,” Hostetler said. “We were able to provide for her as well as many other families in need. Our community has really grabbed ahold of the Fall Gathering and this auction, and we have seen some incredible growth over the past couple of years. From the many Amish furniture makers who have been so charitable to the many people who come each year and purchase items, people have been extremely faithful in their commitment to helping others through this auction.”

The Winesburg Fall Gathering is sponsored by the Winesburg Community Business Association.

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