MARENGO — Steve and Chloe Starkey saw the path of their life change completely with the 2020 pandemic. Little could they imagine as they planned their wedding at a Columbus venue in January, that they would be married in a country campground and assuming its management last summer.
The Starkeys planned to have their July 2020 wedding at a popular Columbus wedding location when the pandemic closed it down. They almost became desperate as every event space they checked closed for bookings last summer.
Steve is a Highland High School graduate and has kept connections with friends in the Marengo area after graduating from the University of Cincinnati and receiving his MBA from Johns Hopkins U. in Baltimore, Maryland.
Last summer Steve did some promotional work for The Legacy Restaurant by Cardinal Center in addition to his work in medical sales. He was talking to Daniel Schwartz of the Fishburn organization in Marengo and told him about the rough time he and Chloe were having finding a wedding venue.
Schwartz had recently been at the camp, walking in the woods and thought what a great place it would be for a wedding or other outdoor event. He invited Steve and Chloe to look at the camp that had recently been purchased by Jack Fishburn.
Chloe and Steve were delighted with the beauty of the camp, the surrounding 180 woods and the Bunker Run brook that ran through it. They thought not only would it be a great place for their wedding, they suggested a partnership with the Fishburn organization.
That spring they invested both time and money to do some beautification to prepare for their wedding and agreed to have day-to-day management of the operations with Fishburn partnering with some of the construction work.
“It was a beautiful wedding,” said Schwartz who attended with Jack Fishburn. “They are a really wonderful, young couple.”
Schwartz is proud of what a really nice place it’s turned out to be. He’s happy to be able to preserve the woods and creek rather than developing it or logging it.
From church camp
to event venue
The Starkeys have already booked 10 events for 2021 at this former camp they now call “The Brook.” They also have open dates for more on the calendar.
“We want to create experiences, not just be event hosts,” said Chloe who described how their own wedding was over a weekend with some guests able to stay and enjoy several days with them.
“We want to make it possible for wedding couples and families to be able to spend a whole weekend with friends and family, much like we did,” added Chloe, who is a teacher at River Valley School District.
The Brook has an indoor hall that’s an ideal size for meals, a reception and dancing. There is an outdoor “Chapel” where their wedding ceremony was held.
A fully equipped kitchen and outdoor pavilion is available where meals can be catered, or food can be brought in by guests. Cabins can accommodate 50-60 guests with overflow at Cardinal Center Campground cabins.
While the Starkeys fell in love with The Brook as a wedding venue, they also look forward to welcoming corporate groups, anniversaries, weekend getaways and family reunions. Steve also plans to have a spring and fall festival and invite the community to enjoy the woods and natural setting of The Brook.
“At The Brook, we’re striving to create something special that our neighbors and community want to support,” said Steve.
For information about The Brook: website www.thebrookvenue.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 740-361-6348.