SALEM, Ohio — Five people were inducted into the Ohio Fair Managers Association Hall of Fame Jan. 9. Honored for their service to Ohio agriculture and the Ohio fair industry were: Howard Stahl, of Wooster; Vernon and Marion Howard, of Burton; Virgil Hite, of Marion; and Peggy Kaltenbach, of Waterford.
Howard Stahl, of Wooster, Ohio, was honored for his dedication to the Wayne County fair.
Stahl’s interest in fairs started 73 years ago, being in 4-H and FFA. After 4-H and FFA, he continued to show livestock and crops at the fair.
Stahl served on the county 4-H Extension advisory board and has been a 4-H adviser for 32 years. He was elected to the Wayne County fair board in November 1977.
In 1988, Stahl, with the help of the board and family members, started the annual kiddie tractor pull, going on now for 23 years.
Stahl has been a Wayne Township trustee for 23 years, and is active in his church, the Lions club, American Legion and the Grange.
He is also is a member of the national and state Shropshire sheep breeders associations.
Stahl and his wife, Barbara, operate a 68-acre farm and rent an additional 30 acres, and raise 70 head of sheep and 10 steers on the farm.
Vernon and Marion Howard
Vernon (deceased) and Marion Howard, of Burton, Ohio were honored for their commitment to the Geauga County Fair.
The couple married in 1943 and farmed the family farm, where they developed a registered Holstein dairy and operated the fruit orchards Vernon’s father, Carl had started.
In 1936, Vernon’s musical talent also secured his position on The Ohio State University Marching Band, and eventually became a charter member in the Great Geauga County Fair Band in 1938.
Later, Vernon lobbied and secured the performance of the fair band at the Ohio State Fair commemorating the band’s 50th anniversary.
In 1969. Vernon was elected to the fair board and Marion joined the auxiliary.
Vernon was president during what may have been the fair’s darkest days. After record rains fell during the week of fair, they found themselves out of money and forced to borrow to simply pay the premiums. Vernon guided the board in helping to secure the capital and outline a plan for capital improvements.
Marion served on the fair auxiliary from 1969 to 2009, retiring after 40 years of service.
Marion has also been an active member of the Great Geauga County Fair Band for the past 66 years and continues to play today. In 2008 as the fair was starting a foundation to help support the fair, she generously stepped forward as the first donor and made a $20,000 gift to the foundation.
Marion and Vernon were also active members of the community in their church, Geauga County Farm Bureau, Holstein association and were inducted into the Geauga County Maple Syrup Producers Hall of Fame in 2008.
Virgil Hite is also being honored posthumously for his service to the Marion County Fair .
Hite served on the Marion County fair board for over 30 years. He served in several leadership roles for the fair including president and on the executive committee.
He was a voice in the renovation of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum on the fairgrounds and oversaw its renovation in the 1980s and ’90s.
He was on the fair board when they decided to go to the voters for levies to help finance capital improvements on the fairgrounds.
Hite was raised on the family farm and after graduation, he attended The Ohio State University earning a bachelor’s degree after majoring in animal science.
He returned home from the U.S. Army to marry the former Marjorie Smith whom he met in the 4-H club at OSU. Upon graduating from college, he bought land a few miles from the home place to farm full-time with his father. Though farming was his life work, he worked part-time work as a technician for Marion Soil and Water Conservation District until his retirement in 2003.
He also served on the Ridgedale School Board, served as a 4-H adviser for 25 years, was a member of the Marion County Farm Bureau and active in his church.
Peggy Kaltenbach, of Klein’s Attractions, was inducted into the Ohio Fair Manager’s Association hall of fame as an associate member.
Kaltenbach, president of Klein’s Attractions, has been a friend of the fair Industry and Fulton County Fair for over 50 years.
Kaltenbach worked with artist managers and agents to make them see the potential of the fair industry as a primary showcase avenue for artists. She was instrumental in convincing superstars such as Bob Hope and Red Skelton to perform at fairs throughout the U.S. and to help them realize the importance of these events around the country.
Kaltenbach’s father, Carl Klein, founded the business back in the 1930s in Waterford, Ohio and she has been part of the business working with fairs from coast to coast for over 80 years.
Following the death of her husband in 1993, Kaltenbach assumed the position of president and continues to manage the company with support from son and daughter-in-law.