Reflections: Recalling Morrow County Junior Fair


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist



Last week I focused on the Centennial edition of the Morrow County Fair which took place in August, 1950. I quoted several people with their memories of attending past fairs. Following are the comments of several others with one common theme: youth.

Mrs. Emma Myers of Steam Corners had attended the fair 70 years earlier getting in free as a youth and she attended this fair with a free pass privilege by being past 90 years of age.

C. W. Squires, a veteran Chester White showman, had shown swine 57 years earlier and paid tribute to the 4-H for developing boys and girls who went forward in life to become some of the county’s outstanding breeders of stock.

Dale Heskett told of five generations displaying at Morrow County Fairs. His grandfather, G. W. Heskett, was on the fair board in 1855 and showed imported Shorthorn cattle. G. W’s mother, Mrs. Sarah Mitchell, owned 1800 acres of land in the locality and sold the site to the fair board.

Including himself, his grandfather, his daughter, his mother and, a grandson. five generations of his family had exhibited at the Morrow County Fair.

Mabel Chipps, school teacher, was impressed with the improvements of the fair, noting the junior fair was especially well organized.

Beverly Worster attributed the success of the “Most Outstanding Junior Fair to the fair’s history of cooperation of the youth organizations in the county.

Fannie Weber, secretary observed that the junior fair was “the finest in the state of Ohio.” Lowell Porter, 4—H advisor said, “the fair was a better fair than we have ever had before.”

This brings me to the Morrow County Fair in 1960, sixty years ago, when the Morrow County Junior Fair was a little more than 25 years old. It was one of the oldest in the state of Ohio, developed early in 1935 by the late Elwood Davis, then an agricultural teacher in the Moung Gilead School.

It was reported the Morrow County Junior Fair became the pattern for fairs through out the state. Davis was one of the first men in Ohio to develop the idea of a combined junior fair with 4-H club members, FFA and FHA members, all showing together.

Morrow was one of the first counties to make use of a junior fair board made up of boys and girls who plan and carry out junior fair activities. In 1935 entries totaled 248, compared to more than 1799 in the 1960 fair.

Members of that first Junior Fair board in 1935 were Harold Hartpence, Lowell Garverick, Ruth Wagner, Naomi Lepp, Earl Blayney, Herbert Coleman, John Jagger, Ralph Bennett, George Trefz, Edwina Heidlebaugh, Boyd Phillips, James Grant, Leslie Kunze, Dorothy Smith, Dean Dupee, and Catherine Hershner.

70 years ago: Playing at the Capitol Theatre, Mount Gilead were “Three Little Words,” “The Happy Years,” and “The Good Humor Man.”

Among the first Morrow County men to be drafted by the Armed Forces since the Korean War began was Robert M. Curts of rural Cardington.

60 years ago: Named Corn Show Queen at the annual Corn Show in Ashley was Kay Ringler, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Ringler. Jill Brandes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Brandes, was named Bantam Queen

50 years ago: The 1970 Morrow County Fair was given an excellent rating by Edward Farmer, supervisor. following inspections.

He described it as one of the best fairs in the area and in his report to John Stackhouse, state director of agriculture, Farmer said the fair was well balanced, had an outstanding junior fair, good exhibits, good ride units and good selections of concessionaires.

He noted the grounds were flogged daily keeping flies and insects at a minimum. He commented on the large exhibit of farm machinery and the construction of a new horse barn, stating that the grounds and buildings were in good condition

Gary Crum, a 1960 graduate of Cardington High School and a 1966 Northwestern University graduate, was hired as physical education teacher and coach at Portsmouth High School.

https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2020/08/web1_Long-EvelynBW-1.jpg

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist