By Jim D’Ville
I could hear the last hurrah of boisterous summer strumming wafting through the forested hilltops of north central Ohio. Yes, it’s once again time for the annual Ohio Ukulele Campout! Now in its fourth year, the OUC is held the last full weekend of September. This year’s incarnation attracted over 100 enthusiastic ukers from throughout the upper Midwest and beyond. Having grown significantly over the years, the OUC now completely overruns the uppermost camping area at the Mohican Adventures Campground in Loudonville, a quaint country burg about 90 miles south of Cleveland.
Fred Sipe, one of the chief instigators of the camp out says, “We started OUC based on Ukulele World Congress with the methodology and ideology employed by UWC founder Mike Hater (aka Mainland Mike). The idea was the event would be for UWC tribe members in Ohio wanting a similar outdoor ukulele experience to the UWC camp out held each June in Needmore, Indiana. But, of course, we all have friends from out of state and people started showing up—and this year we had people from 12 different states.”
The OUC is truly a family event, because everyone is a part of the larger ukulele family. And anyone playing the ukulele is welcome to attend. So in essence, the camp out is part ukulele family-reunion and big three-day party. And it’s quite the party. From Friday through Sunday the music, food, and fun are non-stop. Highlights of this festive weekend included the Saturday night Open Mic, campfire sing-alongs, the Bloody Mary Bar, Terry Wajda’s porch jams, and the all-night bathroom jam. And the weather was perfect for this year’s camp out with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70’s.
Angel, a 16-year-old Ohioan says of the OUC “When I come to OUC I feel free to be myself because everyone accepts me for who I am. That truly makes me happy.” The OUC adventure for 2017 will take place the weekend of September 22–24 at Mohican Adventure Campground & Cabins, 3058 State Route 3, Loudonville, Ohio. Reserve your campsite now!