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 two 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 was the first full year for the new planning committee. Our theme was Circus and the mascot was the Ringmaster Chicken. This was also the first year that the Flamingo Club was created for special edition swag items!
2019 was one of our largest events to date. Our theme was "Birds of the Round Table" a medieval theme.
2020 marked the first year since 2004 without a Midwest Geobash event. Our annual summer event was postponed until 2021 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 saw the return of Midwest Geobash. This year saw the arrival of the GPS Maze and some new activities. This year will also be forever known as the year it rained. Our theme was Golden Cache and our mascot was Inspector Pigeon. The Golden Flamingo Scholarship was born this year
2022 was an apocalyptic themed event with the Buzzard as our mascot. Mad Bash Feather Road was the first year for the popular corn hole tournament.
2023 is the year we celebrated with a popular video game themed Bash. TeamPhoenix brought their talents to the fairgrounds with amazingly creative event caches each matching the theme perfectly. The planning team grew by one additional member this year, bringing the crew back to 5.
2024 We will be celebrating with a MWGB Birthday Party theme. It already is looking to be a fantastic celebration!
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:
Ian (OnABoat) - Ian joined the team during MWGB 2017. He handles website work, vendor/sponsor sign ups, swag sales, and handles our relationship with Geocaching HQ.
Russ (Handyman & Fam) - Russ joined the team in 2014 and never looked back. Russ is the go-to guy most things on the grounds during the event week (setup/teardown, vendor setup, facility open/close, etc.) and handles our volunteer coordination during event weekend.
Shannon (M0M0f5) - Shannon joined the team during MWGB 2017. She handles the majority of our social media pages, event communications, and works with Russ pre-event on volunteer planning efforts.
JD (ShavedEwok) - JD took over area 51 for MWGB 2017. He joined the planning team full time following MWGB 2019. JD is our go to guy for planning new event activities, caches, and still leads the Area 51 festivities.
Melissa (Jamm637) - Melissa joined the team in 2023. As the newest member of the crew, she helps with all things planning.
The Best Volunteers You Could Ask For
The following people also contribute a huge amount to making the event a success:
Fred (Treasure Hunting Family) - Fred and his big flask have taken on the duties of leading our Area 51 fire crew. Respect the flask!
Rich (Papa2All) - Rich coordinates our Treasure Hunt each and every year. It wouldn't be as fun digging in the dirt without all the work he does!
Our Volunteers Emeritus
The ones who have helped make Bash such a success. Tired or retired, your choice:
Mike (Trippy1976) - Mike is one of the original event organizers, and even after moving to Florida he has continued coming back every year. Mike handled the majority of the website coding and design, wrote the program for the Poker Run, and still provides lots of crazy ideas for the event every year.
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.
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 the beads. Lots and lots of beads.
Chris (Team Shydog) - Chris was a member of the planning team starting in 2015. He is the godfather of the Area 51 bar and continues to provide his insight and knowledge to JD to ensure our favorite hangout spot remains great!
Brian (GrandPotentate) - Brian joined the team for MWGB 2016 as the volunteer coordinator. In 2017, Brian joined the new planning team and helped revitalize MWGB with his fantastic energy!
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.
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 Wednesday 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. If you see someone wearing a green lanyard during the event, take a moment to thank them for making the event possible!