Reflections: County fairs ‘genuine and true’

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

It’s fair time in Ohio, but as we all know the COVID-19 virus has caused disruption in the 2020 schedule of all fairs in Ohio.

That leaves me sad because the fair, as I’ve noted in the past, has always been a very important part of my life, just as it has for many, many others.

So, coincidentally, just 70 years ago, 1950, Morrow County was celebrating the centennial year of its fair and I found come interesting information about that fair and about previous fairs which I will share this week and next week.

Ohio Governor Frank Lausche crowned the fair’s Centennial Queen, Barbara Wilcox, Iberia High School junior. Her court members were Norma Staley, lady-in-waiting, Ashley senior; June Cover, Johnsville; Joan Higgins, Chesterville; Martha Higgins, Mt Gilead; Audrey Kennedy, Edison; Glorene Sagar, Marengo; Helen Pruett, Sparta; JoAnn Westbrook Cardington and Ruth Streib, Lexington.

Miss Wilcox’s mother was Mrs. Hazel Fiant Wilcox, formerly of Cardington; and Norma’s parents were Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Staley of Peru Township.

Gov. Lausche paid tribute to the women of the area calling them leaders of families. “Our nation will be only as strong as the family relationship is,” said the governor. He spent four hours at the fair and viewed exhibits.

He noted: “There is something genuine and true about that county fair in America. In it we see the creative power of individuals and inspiration where folks meet in the harvest season to exhibit their products. They are proud of their creations, and if they lose, next year they show again.”

A two-hour program of music, folk songs and dances was planned by F. W. Dalrymple and Virgil Crist, fair board president. Barbara Sparks of Cardington; Phyllis Porter of Marengo, Richard Poland, Mt Gilead;

and Beverly Worster of Edison were cited for outstanding accomplishments Janice Squires of Chesterville and Wilbur Gregory of Cardington were chosen the county’s square dancing team to participate in the State Fair.

Total attendance at the six day fair was 11,270. A downpour of rain on Friday of that week caused a drop in attendance.

Pictured was Cardington High School junior Anne Hill with her 15-month-old Palomino Filly Colt, one of two blue ribbon winners in that class and the only Palomino colt of its age in the county.

Next week, comments by veteran fairgoers, several who had attended the fair for 80 years and more.

August 1950: Five days prior to the start of the 100th Morrow County Fair on August 14, the fairgrounds was sprayed with the powdered chemical DDT to kill flies and other insects.

Mrs. Marie Childers of Long Beach, CA purchased the Corner Restaurant in Cardington from Mrs Olive Collins.

August 1960: Roger, Rita, Tyron, Gary, Verlee and Diana, all children of Mr. and Mrs. Hayes W. Davis of rural Cardington, had their tonsils removed on the same day in Doctors Hospital, Columbus.

August, 1970: Construction began on a 60 x 140 building north of Cardington at the junction of U.S. Route 42 and Burr Road to house the plumbing, heating and electrical business of Levering Brothers, Inc.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist