LIMA — The weather was perfect for Senior Citizens Day at the Allen County Fairgrounds.
“We’re usually not here this early as (seniors) are the only ones to come out this early,” said Casey Troyer, head of the beef department at the fairgrounds.
The vendors opened early in anticipation of the seniors coming through.
The Allen County Farm Bureau tent was packed with people eating.
“We opened at 10:30 a.m. and have had a lot of business. It’s been busy,” said Bruce Perkins of Spencerville 4-H.
While fair manager Bob Fricke couldn’t put an exact number on how many years the special day has been offered, he was quick to point out that it has been “many years.” For people ages 60 and older, free admission was a draw.
“It’s very well attended,” he said.
“We offer tickets for the assisted living homes to be able to bring as many as can come. We have ramped up our shuttle service today. HCF Management is on the grounds running our shuttle service,” said Fricke. “Other entities are providing shuttles for us today as well because of Senior Day.
In addition, the fairgrounds planned the antique tractor pull to take place first thing in the morning for the seniors. There were 92 tractors competing.
“A lot of them can relate and go back to their childhood because of the antique tractor pull,” said Fricke. “They’re actually working tractors and they’re out here for bragging rights.”
Other entertainment was provided for the seniors at two Golden Age Parties, one at 11 a.m. and another at 2 p.m. in the Gospel Tent.
“We bring in bands all day to entertain our seniors as well as throughout the week at the Gospel Tent. There were chips and water bottles passed out for the seniors. Water was provided by Lima Rehab and Nursing. St. Rita’s Mercy Health was our sponsor for the Golden Age party,” said Fricke.
St. Rita’s was providing samples of sunscreen and lip balm as well as giving free blood pressure checks in the Gospel Tent.
“It’s been real steady,” said Ben Norbeck, with St. Rita’s.
Howard and Irene Lackey, of Bath Township, were in the Gospel Tent listening to the bands.
“I’ve seen some cousins that I haven’t seen in a while,” said Irene Lackey. “My girls were in 4-H and had things in the booth. We do always go in there. I always like to see what’s on display. I like the Merchant’s Building, and we’re from Bath Township so we always end up at the Bath building to eat.”
For Dolores Daniels, 93, of Lima, it was a day to spend with her family. Her granddaughter, Michelle Edgington, of Bluffton, was pushing her wheelchair. Her daughter, granddaughter and three of her great-granddaughters were walking with her.
“We used to do harness racing all of the time. Her brother and sister and nieces and nephews, daughter and granddaughter and grandson used to do that. We used to play quarters outside the fence. Whoever’s horse won got the pot,” said Edgington.
Fair goer Robert Cooper, 89, of Cridersville, was found sitting under a tent eating an ice cream bar.
“I usually come every year. It’s free today and I’m on Social Security, so I have to watch my pennies,” said Cooper. “I like the rides. The people that operate them, Poor Jack, is from my hometown of Eaton. I know the family that runs it. I like to stop and see them every time I’m at the fair. I feel like they’re my hometown people.”
Cooper also likes to see the free shows.
“I really love the flying trapeze. It’s my favorite thing to see ever since my family took me to Coney Island and I saw them years ago. I like the animals too, those wolves and the animals in the petting zoo. That’s what we come to the fair for, to have a good time,” he said.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511