CHILO – She isn’t just the proprietor, she’s also a customer.
The former Shawna Gentry became Mrs. Darcey Roberts June 16 at Chilo Lock 34 Park. Shawna happens to own and operate the Runaway Chapel, a Williamsburg-based mobile wedding trailer that opened for business last July.
She’s officiated 23 weddings herself, including seven in the Runaway Chapel, but didn’t anticipate being a bride. Yet when Darcey asked – they’ve known each other since sixth grade and been dating since February – Shawna knew what she wanted.
“My family, the Gentry family, has been using the park at Chilo since the ‘80s for everything from memorials to graduation parties,” she said. “We have a very strong connection to that place.
“It’s just charming there. You have everything from the river, of course, to the walking trails to the shelters. It’s a beautiful place that’s special to our family. It was the perfect place for us to get married.”
The Clermont County Park District plays host to more than 100 wedding a year.
Most of them are at Pattison Lodge and Gazebo in Owensville. Guests book the popular facilities there a year to 18 months in advance. Weekends from April to October often see ceremonies and celebrations Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Many couples select the Hartman Cabin in Jackson Township, too. The historic log home is a lovely, intimate setting for exchanging vows.
But there haven’t been many weddings at Chilo Lock 34 Park since the steamboat Jennie Wade moved off the property several years ago.
“We’re thrilled so many people want to celebrate one of the most important days of their lives at the Park District,” said Mark Motz, community relations manager. “Families make a lot of memories in our parks and there isn’t much more memorable than a wedding.
“We wish Shawna and Darcey every happiness. With a wedding chapel on wheels, they could have gone anywhere to get married. We’re honored they chose Chilo for their special day.”
For information about booking a Park District facility for your wedding, call the main office at 513-732-2799.
Mark D. Motz is the Community Relations Manager for the Clermont County Park District. A native Cincinnatian, he has worked for more than 25 years as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. Away from work, he enjoys photography, theater and spending time with his nine godchildren.