Midwest Geobash, Inc. is the non-profit organization behind the event. We are a registered business in the State of Ohio.
The first MWGB was in 2005, at Harrison Lake State Park in Fayette, OH. It started as "A Casual Gathering of Geocachers of the Midwest and Great Lakes Region of North America", and had at least 450 cachers in attendance. Camping in a public park, cachers identified themselves by decorating their campsites with Flamingos. The original event organizers were: Trippy1976, Bjorn74, Team Hydnckr, Sherwood Forest, and Girl Geek.
The 2nd MWGB was in 2006, at the Oakland County 4H Fairgrounds in Davisburg, MI. This year, MWGB was the first Mega Event ever in geocaching history, which we obtained after confirming with more than 500 signatures in our log book. The event was a full week long, and the mascot was the Penguin. This was also the year that Area 51 was born, Groundspeak released lots of Green Jeep travel bugs at the event, and the first Geocoin Poker Tournament was had.
In 2007 the event moved to The Noble County Fairgrounds in Kendallville, IN, and we grew to over 1000 geocachers in attendance. It was the year of the Duck, and we had shortened the event back down to 3 days.
We stayed in Kendallville for 2008, where we started adding a theme with the mascot, The Pirate Parrot. This year was when Area 51 really became a great attraction when you had to "Walk The Plank", a local Spiderman came to the event, and the Batmobile made its appearance late one night.
In 2009 we decided to not have the event next to live train tracks, and we moved it to The Fulton County Fairgrounds, in Wauseon, OH. Being the 5th MWGB, we had a special Thursday party at Harrison Lake State Park where it all began, just a few miles down the road. It was the year of the Cowboy Chicken, and we started off with a bang by giving away 20 GPS units at the event! We also tried 8am coffee and donuts this year, and it has gone down as the worst idea ever :)
For 2010, we stayed in the same location and celebrated Casino-style with the Eagle. We learned a lot from the previous year and added things like porta potties at A51, Tin Foil Hat night, and condensed activity locations.
We kept our love for Wauseon in 2011, and threw a Pelican Beach Party. This year the Wauseon Reporter stopped by and wrote an article about us to share with the community. We had our first attendees from Australia, the Hula Girl made her first appearance, and Rockin Roddy even brought a Jetski to decorate his campsite!
We decided to make Wauseon our permanent home in 2012, and brought Halloween to July with Spook the Owl! No one was happy about the burn ban, but thanks to local volunteer firefighters, we were able to keep the A51 tradition going. Many people supported the theme and dressed in amazing costumes for the event. We've really felt the growing pains this year, we've more than doubled the number of campsites reserved in the last 3 years, and we're working to keep up with our growing attendance!
2013 saw Mardi Gras come to Wauseon. The burn ban was not with us this year and a great theme/mascot made this one of the best Bashes yet.
2014 was our 10th annual Geobash! The theme was Christmas in July and we brought back not only the original mascot - the Flamingo - but all the mascots made a reprise appearance this year. It was the 10th anniversary and we all ended up on the "Nice" list, well almost all of us did.
The call went out in 2015 for all Superheros to join us at Geobash, and that call was answered. The Falcon keep an eye over the fun and follies.
For 2016 we dug out the ol' college sweatshirt, the foam fingers and had a great time with all of our favorite sports and teams! The mascot, the Cardinal, hung out with us for some wild, wacky sporting good fun.
2017 was a year full of various challenges, along with bringing on three new members of our planning team, multiple changes were made on the event grounds, including the location of our beloved "Area 51". Everything worked well in the end as the Force was with us. Our time-traveling Penguin joined us for a sci-fi theme.
2018 looks to be one of the best years yet....
The Planning Team
Midwest Geobash is a labor of love for us. Every year we spend countless hours planning to ensure that MWGB is a fun event for everyone, and honestly sometimes we wonder why we keep doing this without getting paid :) We love the community of attendees and every year the event feels like a family reunion. Here's a quick introduction:
Brian (GrandPotentate) - Brian joined the team in 2016 to be the volunteer coordinator and ended up leading the charge during MWGB 2017. He is now the Ringmaster of the circus and just trying to keep the elephants in line.
Ian (OnABoat) - Ian joined the team during MWGB 2017. He previously spent countless hours volunteering at many bash events previously, helping out with set-up and tear-down during the event week, and has enjoyed helping with the Area 51 festivities.
Shannon (M0M0f5) - Shannon just about got blown away at her first Bash in 2012 and had to chase down her tent. She joined the planning team during MWGB 2017 and began putting as many of her children to work as she could.
Our Planning Team Emeritus...ish
These folks have provided years of excellent service planning and running the event and now providing years of excellent advice and support. They are still around, but would rather be clowns than ringmasters.
Mike (Trippy1976) - Mike is one of the original event organizers, and even after moving to Florida he has continued coming back every year. Mike does the majority of the website coding and design, wrote the program for the Poker Run, and provides lots of crazy ideas for the event every year :)
Sonja (-Eleanor-) - Sonja joined the planning team during the 2007 event and went full time from 2008 on. Sonja managed the schedule, got all of our goodies and decorations. She also bought our beads. Lots and lots of beads.
Russ (Handyman & Fam) - Russ joined the team in 2014 and never looked back. Russ was the go-to guy most things on the grounds during the event week (setup/teardown, vendor setup, facility open/close, etc.).
Chris (Team Shydog) - Chris came aboard in 2015 to lend a hand in planning and the daily on site operations. Chris has been to every Bash and has helped in the past and will continue with making Area 51 the best darn social gathering spot around.
The Best Volunteers You Could Ask For
The following people also contribute a huge amount to making the event a success:
Aaron (Scoobypatterson) & Keith (Shelbyclimber) - Aaron and Keith have taken over the monumental task of running the Silent Auction.
Fred (Treasure Hunting Family)- Fred and his big flask have taken on the duties of lead Area 51 fire starter and host. Respect the flask!
April & Jeff (Team ForPawz)- April and Jeff have stepped up to the Volunteer Coordinator roles this year. It takes two to handle all our wonderful green shirts!
Our Volunteers Emeritus
The ones who have helped make Bash such a success. Tired or retired, your choice:
Ed (Jellyfish) and Kathy (POMC) - Ed & Kathy managed our Silent Auction and every detail involved in it.
Laura (LadyLights) - Laura managed our volunteers and created the volunteer schedule year in and year out. LaLa is still providing her knowledge and experience to us each year, we just won't let her have a radio. ;-)
Matt (Lord Elwood) - Matt helped create Area 51 by managing the fires every year, and of course lighting them the proper way.
Dan (Lightpeople)- Dan was Mr. Treasure Hunt for many years. His creativity and resourcefulness is legendary.
Chad (SleepyWeasel73) - Chad and his crew spent quite a few years serving up those tasty refreshments in Area 51.
Pete (The Moop Along)- Pete was part of the "Big 3" for a good number of years. He and his golf cart cooler are well known in three states.
ALL our "Green Shirts"
MWGB does not happen without the help of volunteers. Each year it takes our main crew and the help of over 100 weekend volunteers to make bash happen. Almost 1000 hours of volunteer time goes into bash each year just from Thursday through Sunday of the event! MWGB is truly a community driven event. The Planning Team tee it up, but our massive roster of volunteer help is what enables us to "knock it out of the park". It would be impossible to recognize them individually, but they have our undying gratitude.