Seniors are celebrated at the fair


By Sheryl Roadcap

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TROY — Wednesday at the Miami County Fair was geared toward seniors citizens.

Senior citizens were able to get into the fair for free as well as get a free lunch at the free entertainment tent around noon on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

The big event of the day for seniors was the annual Golden Anniversary photo taken of Miami County couples who have been married for at least 50 years. At least 50 couples came out to participate in the event. Couples were seated at 11 a.m. out front of the Miami County Fair secretary’s office for the picture.

This year, two couples shared the honor of being the longest married couple at the fair, for 68 years a piece. Lester and Lennett Francis, of Troy, and Fred and Rita Stall, of Piqua, tied for the couple who have been married the longest at this year’s fair on Senior Day.

The Stalls said they were married on March 5, 1955. Originally from Versailles, the couple has lived in Miami County since 1960.They share four children together, Dan Stahl, Kimberly Passineux, Cindy Lewis and Tom Stahl; 10 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

When asked for their secret is to being married for 68 years, the Stahls said sharing the same interests is key.

“You have to like the same hobbies,” said Rita. “We were dancers when we were younger; ballroom style.”

Fred said, “We started out like that (ballroom dancing) but we like rock and roll music too.”

“And when younger, we liked water sports together; water skiing,” Rita added.

“We were lucky we got married when we were young and had our kids when we were young, … —And you got to like each other,” Fred said with a chuckle.

Rita said, when asked if she was surprised they were the longest married couple in the group, “I knew we were getting close. I think if not for the couple who came at the last minute last year, we may have been the longest married couple last year.”

The Francis’ were married on April 23, 1955. They share two children, Steven Francis and Christina Craft; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

It was Lester’s brother and sister-in-law, Maynard and Alfrieda Francis, who took the status of longest married couple at the 2022 Miami County Fair.

“It was my brother last year (who was married the longest),” Lester said.

When asked if he was surprised they were one of the two longest married couples in the group, Lester said, “I thought there were a couple of others (that was longer than them.)”

Lennett said compromise and give and take is the secret to staying married all these years. Lester joked with a smile, “And Super Glue.”

They shared memories of past years and said they have enjoyed the Harness Races the most so far this year, but looked forward to the Smash It Demolition Derby that evening.

After the couples had the Golden Anniversary photo taken, they headed over to the free entertainment tent for a free box lunch that included chicken salad on a croissant, chips, a banana, cookies and bottled water. Music was also performed by Old Dogs Revenge after lunch in the tent. Approximately 350 lunches were given out, which were provided by Premier Health, SpringMeade Health Center and Koester Pavilion.

SpringMeade resident Linda Asher, resident council president, said she was enjoying her morning at the fair.

“This is the first year I came out (for Senior Day), but I am very glad that I did come. I am looking forward to getting out into the open air and looking around the fair,” she said as she finished up her lunch in the tent with other residents of SpringMeade. “It’s nice to get out and be around others.”

Piqua Manor/Garby Ridge Assisted Living/Heritage Health Care gave away goodie bags that contained information about their services, koozies, ink pens, hand lotion, bug spray, etc.

The day was co-sponsored by provided by Premier Health — SpringMeade Health Center/Koester Pavilion and Piqua Manor/Garby Ridge Assisted Living/Heritage Health Care.

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