COLUMBUS — Jon Overmyer, Robert Toth, James McClure and Howard L. Call were inducted into the Ohio Fairs Hall of Fame Jan. 12 during the awards ceremonies during the 89th annual Ohio Fair Managers Association (OFMA) Convention in Columbus.
Overmyer’s love for the county fair began prior to 1958 when he participated in 4-H crops and showed sheep and his prize pony “Princess.”
In 1967, when Overmyer graduated from Harris-Elmore High School, he was crowned the first Ottawa County Junior Fair King.
In 1975, Overmyer joined the fair board as a director. He has been involved with many projects — getting barns built, modern restrooms, rental facilities, a new fairboard office, a modern tractor pulling twin track and campground projects.
Overmyer’s community involvement includes Oak Harbor Lions Club, Oak Harbor Young Farmers, Ohio Auctioneers Association and Peters Blackberry Church, where he sits on several church committees.
He also served on the Woodmore School Board for more than eight years.
Besides serving his county fair, he served the Ohio Fair Managers Association as a District 1 director, 1987 to 1996; and first and second vice president and president, 2000-2001.
Jon and his wife, Gail, have three children and six grandchildren.
Toth has been a Medina County Fairboard member since 1981. He served as president and vice president for four years each and has only missed one board meeting in 31 years.
He has been superintendent of the Medina County Fair Open Class Sheep Department since 1978 (35 years), and he added a wool show, market lamb show, and designed a sheep barn and show ring.
The fair hosts the sheep shearing contest and spinning and weaving.
He co-managed the National Corriedale Sheep Show in 1991 and continues to sponsor the 4-H wool awards.
In Toth’s leadership role, he created the first Fair Director’s Handbook in the 1990s, attended many OFMA and IAFE conventions, chaired the Premium Book Committee, announces the Kiddie Tractor Pull, chaired the Beautification Committee, was assistant chairman of the Entertainment Committee, past chairman of the Junior Fair Committee, current chairman of the Open Class Rabbit Committee, organized the Basketball Free Throw Contest at the fair, and has served on the executive committee, publicity, special purchase and the insurance committees for many years.
He was selected as Medina County Fair’s Outstanding Fair Supporter at the OFMA convention in 1998 and 1999.
He is a former 4-H member, showed sheep as a youth and adult around Ohio, a 4-H adviser, Extension committee member and received the Meritorious Service Award.
He is a member of the American Corriedale Sheep Association, Ohio Corriedale Sheep Club, Medina County Sheep Producers Association, American Rabbit Breeders Association and Medina County Rabbit Breeders Association.
McClure has been a member of the Coshocton County Agriculture Society for 33 years.
He began attending the fair when he was 3 years old, when he would “help” his father haul the junior fair livestock out of the fairgrounds.
During his 33-year tenure as a fair board director, he has held many offices including entertainment director, admissions director, financial and executive committee chair, president and treasurer.
He has increased usage of the grounds in the off season by hosting flea markets, hot air balloon races, Fourth of July fireworks displays, camper events, hunting dog trials, Honda Goldwing Rally and farmers markets. He has also constructed new livestock pens and replaced, repaired and painted buildings.
He has been an active supporter of the OFMA, has attended numerous district spring meetings, the annual OFMA conventions, and has contributed to the Ohio Fair Managers Association PAC. He was an OFMA board member, serving as District 8 director for 10 years.
McClure has been a presenter and senior fair table topic discussion leader at the OFMA annual Convention several times in the past 20 years.
His current and /past board of director memberships include: Kids of America Board, Roscoe Village Commission, Coshocton County Visitors Bureau, Coshocton County Extension Advisory Committee, Ohio Mid-East Government (OMEGA) Economic Development Committee and many others.
He is a member of the Coshocton Rotary, Coshocton Kiwanis, Newcomerstown Elks and the Coshocton County Farm Bureau.
Jim and his wife, Jayne, were 4-H advisers and their children were active 4-H members, showing for many years. Their daughter, Joanna, (deceased) was a junior fair queen.
Call has committed his life to fairs.
He has been a member of the Summit County Agricultural Society for more than 39 years. He was on the fair board for 30 years where he served as president for 15 years and secretary for four years. He also served as junior fair adviser for nine years.
Following his vision and leadership, the Summit County Fair experienced tremendous growth. The fairgrounds grew from six acres and one building to 65 acres with 22 buildings, including a year-round arena and exposition center. The fair’s paid attendance grew as well; more than 300 percent over a four-year period.
In addition to his service in Summit County, Howard has been the electrician for the Medina County Fair for 34 years and has served as the concessions manager for the Great Geauga County Fair since 2011.
For his contributions to county fairs, Howard was recognized as an Outstanding Fair Supporter by the Ohio Department of Agriculture; he received Outstanding Fair Improvement Award for the Greater Ohio Showmen’s Association; and he was the recipient of the Summit County Service Award.
Call has served the Ohio Fair Managers Association since 1989 when he was first elected as the District 9 director. Other past service includes first vice president (1994-1995) and president (1996-1997).
He was a very active past president for five years, and in 2002, he was hired as OFMA’s executive director.
Under his direction, the OFMA has become the largest state fair convention.
In 2011, Call was recognized by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions as the State Association Executive of the Year, and in 2012, GOSA recognized Call for his outstanding service to the OFMA and the fair industry.
Call served as program chairman for the Federation of Fairs for the IAFE for the past two years and was just named as president of the Federation of Fairs for IAFE for a two-year term.