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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

OHIO STATE FAIR

Ohio State fair's 50-Year-Club back for more
Members return for their annual get-together and favorite traditions
from:  dispatch.com
By  Kathy Lynn Gray- The Columbus Dispatch
Tuesday July 30, 2013


Wheelchairs, canes, caretakers and cloudy vision can’t keep members of the 50-Year Club from the clamor and excitement of the 2013 Ohio State Fair.

More than 80 converged there yesterday for the group’s annual coffee-and-doughnuts get-together, then maneuvered through the crowds to admire the butter cow, visit a few sheep and eat a lamb sandwich or two at the 163-year-old fair.
And share their stories.
Wendell Ellenwood, 91, of Dublin, remembered how, as a member of the state fair band in the 1930s, he slept in a tent and showed a heifer in the stalls under the railroad tracks that run along the fairgrounds.
What sticks out in 91-year-old Betty Martin’s mind is when she worked at the fair’s Gate 9 as a junior in high school and fainted from the heat “because I didn’t have a hat.” Originally from Licking County, she lives on the Northwest Side.

 
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Eric Albrecht | Dispatch
Irene Godfrey, 94, takes in the sights at the Ohio State Fair with daughter Margi Sawyer. Godfrey was meeting up with other members of the 50-Year Club for their annual gathering. The group takes in anyone who has attended the fair for at least 50 years.

And Irene Godfrey, 94, figures she’s been coming to the fair for 83 years, starting as a kid when her brother showed cattle from their dairy farm in Kirkersville in Licking County and she was a 4-H member.
For one morning each year during the fair, club members meet in the Rhodes auditorium to hear the All-Ohio State Fair band and choir, listen to a few welcoming speeches, collect door prizes and discuss the group’s goals: to raise money for more trees on the grounds and to encourage more people to come to the annual meeting.
New member Tom Calhoon of the Northwest Side said he was “shocked” to find out he qualified to be in the club this year. He’s 64 and started coming to the fair at the age of 14.
“Some people say this is the best-kept secret at the fair,” club President John Fark, 65, of Marion, told the group yesterday. “It’s really hard to be a member of this group: Just show up, and you’re in.”
Beautiful weather drew people of all ages to the fair on Sunday, when an estimated 115,288 patrons set a daily attendance record. An estimated 349,997 patrons had attended the fair through Sunday, fair officials said.
read more:
http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/07/30/state-fairs-50-year-club-back-for-more.html

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