Time Flies for Washington Fairs - The Missourian: Columns

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Time Flies for Washington Fairs

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Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014 6:30 pm | Updated: 1:34 pm, Fri Aug 8, 2014.

If you don’t believe how fast time flies, glance back to past issues of The Missourian for memories of the Washington Fair, and the realization of that fact is quite clear.

The 2014 event is the 85th Washington Town and Country Fair. There were fairs here before 85 years ago, but 85 years is what is considered the “modern era” of fairs in Washington.

We didn’t go back 85 years, but we did glance at the 1964 event — 50 years ago. That is when the “time flies” really is revealing.

In 1964, Frank Lohmeyer was chairman. He had two co-chairmen, Charles Pecka and Gerald Michels. It was a 4-day event in 1964. Half of the Fair profit was earmarked for industrial development. The shoe factories had closed by then and great emphasis was on industrial development.

The 1964 Fair had total receipts of $46,084. That was considered good in those days.

The queen’s contest was a major event then as it is now. The 1964 Fair queen was Marilyn Stratman. Her sponsor was Buescher Pharmacy. First maid of honor was Margaret DeRose, Sullivan. The second maid of honor was Barbara Bridgeman, Washington. Dorothy Wehmueller was chairlady of the queen’s contest. Gil Newsome of Radio Station KSD in St. Louis was master of ceremonies.

There was a livestock auction. The grand champion steer sold for $548.25. The steer was exhibited by Duane Schiermeier, Foristell. The buyer was Tom Voelker, vice president of National Stockyards Co. The reserve champion steer was purchased by Elmer Steffens, president of the Franklin County Bank. At the auction, 69 steers were sold for $19,354.46. The average price paid was 29 cents a pound, about 5 cents over the top market price of that year. The Bank of Washington was the top buyer with ll steers.

Elmer Unnerstall was chairman of the tractor pull. The top winners were Randy Sunfield, Washington, light weight; Ben A. Geisert, Washington, medium; and Marvin J. Newman, Labadie, heavy.

Skydivers from St. Louis made 16 jumps at the Fair and two landed, as planned, in Lions Lake.

Jack Meyer, Washington, playing a saxophone, won first place in the talent contest. He was going to be a senior at WHS.

Water skiers from Alton, Ill., performed on Lions Lake. They did “jumps” during their performance.

Lee Kloppe, New Haven, showed the senior grand champion Jersey bull in the open division of the dairy show.

Mrs. Clarence Conrad, Washington, was chairlady of the home ec show. The grand prize winner was Betty Wilmesher, Union, with 84 points.

Dean Althage, New Haven, exhibited the champion female Holstein in the junior division dairy show.

Glenn Ridder, Marthasville, exhibited the grand champion bull in beef breeding.

There was no big name entertainment in 1964. That came later, along with major crowds.

Fairs make lasting memories — pleasant memories! And, time does fly!

/opinion/columns

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