22nd Annual Little Cities of Black Diamonds Day Oct. 16

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The 22nd Annual Little Cities of Black Diamonds Day will unfold from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 16 in the National Register Historic District of Shawnee, Ohio in southern Perry County.

This year’s theme is Spirits of the Little Cities: Temperance & Taverns. The gathering will feature exhibits and panel discussions exploring the provocative theme, a live Speakeasy serving legal beverages, a Temperance Parade, live music, food, the Southern Perry County Quilt Show and activities for children. The event is free and open to the public and takes place at several locations along Main Street. A pre-event hike into the Wayne Forest on the Buckeye Trail/North Country Natural Scenic Trail will be led by the Buckeye Trail Association at 10:30 a.m. as well as a walking tour of the village featuring former tavern sites at 1 p.m.

Each year this event celebrates the rich history, culture and natural environment of the Hocking Valley Coal Fields located at the corners of southeastern Ohio’s Athens, Hocking, Morgan and Perry Counties. Mining towns with large immigrant populations and thirsty miners were targeted by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and Anti-Saloon League at the turn of the 20th Century in a movement that led to the enactment of the 18th Amendment in 1920 beginning the Prohibition Era which was not repealed until 1933.

Frank Leslie's illustration of the "Ohio Whiskey Wars." (Submitted)
Frank Leslie’s illustration of the “Ohio Whiskey Wars.” (Submitted)

Event organizers will engage the visitor in understanding the tension that surrounded the issue by setting up a Prohibition era Speakeasy that will serve alcohol produced by contemporary entrepreneurs in southeastern Ohio serving microbrews, moonshine, wine and mead. Living history characters will represent and plead the cause of Temperance culminating in a re-enactment of a Temperance Parade at 3 p.m. where visitors are invited to participate. Representatives of the Westerville Historical Society will be present to share their community’s story of being the home of the Temperance movement in America.

Among programs on tap are a panel discussion and photographs of the favorite taverns in the mining towns of the region (12:15 p.m.), WOUB Public Media personalities Ivan and Deanna Tribe’s “Bituminous and Booze” program featuring vinyl records of old-time thematic music (1 p.m.), and discussion panels on the Temperance Movement (2:15 p.m.) and the contemporary micro-movement of alcohol production in southeastern Ohio that is resulting in distilleries, micro-breweries, and vineyards becoming common place around the region (3:30 p.m.).

A thematic exhibit will further explore the theme. The Southern Perry County Quilt Show and a fare of homemade soups, pies and sandwiches will be available in the Tecumseh Commons along with live music at the Tecumseh Commons and the Speakeasy in the Harigle Garage Building.

Musicians include Rich Greenlee (folk, traditional), Charlie & Celia (folk, traditional) and popular Columbus singer songwriter Jesse Henry of the Spike Drivers who will close out the day with a concert of blues and American roots music at 4PM after having performed earlier at the event’s Speakeasy.

For more information visit or contact the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council by phone at 740-394-3011 or via e-mail at Shawnee is located in the Wayne National Forest at the intersection of State Routes 93 & 155 in southern Perry County.