Midwest Geobash, LLC 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, 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've 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!
"The Big 3"
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:
Mike (Trippy1976) - Mike is one of the original event organizers, and even after moving to Florida he keeps coming back every year. Mike does the majority of the website coding and design, wrote the program for the Poker Run, is the master of all things printed at the event, 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 manages the schedule, provides goodies for the volunteers, decorations and free handouts, and superficial website work.
Pete (The Moop Along) - Pete joined the team with Sonja in 2007 and hasn't looked back since. Pete manages most things on the grounds, finds the poker run stops, and organizes the flea market.
The Best Volunteers You Could Ask For
The following people also contribute a huge amount to making the event a success:
Laura (LadyLights) - Laura manages our volunteers and creates the volunteer schedule every year.
Ed (Jellyfish) - Ed manages our Silent Auction and every detail involved in it.
Chris (Team Shydog) - Chris has helped transform Area 51 into what it is today by supplying free fun as long as you "Walk the Plank" or "Pull the Trigger"
Matt (Lord Elwood) - Matt has also helped create Area 51 by managing the fires every year, and of course lighting them the proper way.