Pat Mowry honored for dedication to the county fair
FREMONT - Longtime Sandusky County Fair Board member Pat Mowry was honored by Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Agriculture's interim director, Tracy Intihar, at the 98th Ohio Fair Managers Association annual convention at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Jan. 13.
Although Mowry was not present at the convention, she was named an Outstanding Fair Supporter for exceptional service to the Sandusky County Fair.
Mowry served on the Sandusky County Fair Board for 18 years before retiring about three years ago. She was nominated for the honor by Fair Board President Harold Overmyer.
“I nominated her because she’s one heck of a worker,” Overmyer said. “She still helps. She has a great love for our fair.”
Mowry’s passion for the fair stemmed from a lifetime of involvement. She grew up on a farm in Rice Township and joined 4-H when she was just 8 years old. Her projects included sewing, cooking, showing dairy cattle and, unofficially, falling in love. She met her husband of 62 years, Charles Mowry, at the Sandusky County Fair.
“My husband and I met in the dairy barn. We both had jersey cattle,” she said. “My son and his wife also met at the fair. There’s a lot of romance at the fair.”
After they married, Charles and Pat purchased a home in Fremont where they raised their children, all of whom were involved in Junior Fair.
“We always lived here in town, but we would take them every night to a farm in Kansas to care for the animals,” Mowry. “Now we have two grandchildren involved in Junior Fair.”
When Pat joined the fair board, the organization obtained a bonus helper.
“When they got me, they also got my husband because he’s my right-hand person,” Pat said.
For the next 18 years, Pat and Charles worked tirelessly for the fair year-round. Pat served as fair board secretary for 13 years, started the shuttle service for fairgoers with disabilities, and headed the fair’s Department of Farm Products. Pat, Charles and Overmyer helped run food stands for the flea markets and gun shows, as well as a food trailer that was remodeled by Overmyer.
“Harold remodeled the trailer with sinks and cabinets. We would have 10 people working in that trailer at one time,” Mowry said. “It was a big project and lots of work, but we made nice profits from that.”
Pat, Charles and Overmyer helped keep Sandusky County on the cutting edge of county fairgrounds. Through their efforts, Sandusky County became one of the first Ohio fairgrounds to institute a winter light display and a beautification project. Overmyer said the annual Winter Wonderland Christmas light display has been ranked one of the Top 10 in the state.
The fair beautification project started with a simple idea and a lot of manpower. Their first project was to haul dirt from the bottom of the fairground hill up to the top and fill 30 barrels with dirt and flowers. Gibsonburg FFA eventually built flower planters, and then 4-H Adviser Annette Mercer began organizing kids to water and weed.
“It was very important to me to beautify our fairground,” Mowry said. “Lynn Quick takes care of the flowers now. I appreciate her so much. She’s carrying on the beautification of the fairgrounds.”
Due to Mowry's innovative work, she was asked to speak at the Ohio Fair Managers Association convention twice. She spoke once about beautifying fairgrounds and once participated in a fair secretary roundtable discussion. Her ideas about fairground beautification helped spur the concept across the state.
Although Mowry has stepped away from the fair board, she’ll never step away from the fair.
“There were not many days Charles and I weren’t at the fairgrounds doing something year-round, but my favorite week was the week of the fair. To us, it felt like a reward to have it all come together,” she said.
Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at [email protected]
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