Senior day at the fair

TROY — Miami County senior citizens enjoyed Wednesday at the Miami County Fair, the day specifically designated for them.

The Free Entertainment Tent was overflowing Wednesday morning, Aug. 17, for Senior Citizens Day after approximately 68 couples married for at least 50 years gathered for the annual Golden Anniversary picture. Couples were seated at 11 a.m. out front of the Miami County Fair secretary’s office for the picture.

On Senior Citizens Day, anyone 65 years or older is admitted into the fair for free. Any couple who has been married for 50 years, according to Amber Weldy, co-fair board director, also receives free admission to the fair for the entire week — and all subsequent fairs once they reach that milestone.

Several senior related agencies, including Premier Health, Piqua Manor and Garby Ridge Assisted Living, had booths set up throughout the morning and afternoon to share their information on the services they provide. Seniors also enjoyed free boxed lunches provided by Premier Health, SpringMeade Health Center and Koester Pavilion, along with a performance by the Old Dogs Revenge band at 12:30 p.m. The boxed lunches came in a small reusable bag and consisted of a ham or turkey sandwich, a small bag of chips, a banana, cookies and bottled water.

“We actually have sponsored the entertainment for the day, and we have provided lunches, which we have done for many years now. And (we) just talk to the seniors, invite them in for tours, talk to our admissions director, and things like that,” said Carol Elifritz, business development director of SpringMeade Health Center/Koester Pavilion.

Wednesday’s Senior Citizens Day’s turn-out was greater than last year and more than was expected, Elifritz noted.

“We handed out 275 lunches this year and if we had 300, we could have given away 300. Last year, I think we gave out 165, but things are getting back to normal from COVID, and I think the beautiful weather had to do (with the turn out),” she said.

The longest married couple in attendance Wednesday have been married for the last 74 years. Maynard, 96, and his wife Alfrieda Francis, 93, of Troy, were surprised to learn they are the longest married couple among the crowd. The Francis’ haven’t been back to the Miami County Fair in nearly a decade. Alfrieda said they spent seven years living in Sidney at the Ohio Living Dorothy Love retirement community, and although they have been back to Troy for two years, this is the first time they have been to the fair.

When asked how they have sustained their marriage all these years, Alfrieda said, with a big smile, “It’s a lot of give and take, that’s for sure.”

“—And some good glue!” her husband Maynard added, which caused everyone to laugh.

Their daughter Susie Barhorst said her parents stay busy, with her mom receiving the green thumb award numerous years for her beautiful gardening work, and her father producing stain glass products. Maynard he has sold his work all over Miami County and the United States, Barhorst said.

“We are as happy as we can be, under the circumstances,” Alfrieda said with a big smile, who added they are glad to be back home in Troy.