SIDNEY – A man and a woman who used to be neighbors on their families’ farms were honored as the oldest fair visitors Tuesday morning at the Shelby County Fair.
Dick Adams, 99 years old, and Esther Knasel, 95 years old, were honored as the oldest man and woman, respectively, at the fair’s Senior Citizens Day.
When asked how he lived so long, Adams replied, “If I knew that, I’d sell it.”
Adams grew up in Perry Township and spent his life working on his family’s farm. A little more than a decade ago he and his wife, Barbara, moved to Dorothy Love where they lived together until her death four years ago.
“It’s all right,” Adams said of living at Dorothy Love. “I liked it better on the farm.”
Knasel grew up in Jackson Center then spent 67 years living and working on a farm with her late husband, Avery Knasel. She now lives at the Landings of Sidney.
Knasel went from the Senior Citizens Day festivities to watch some of her great-grandchildren show goats. She has 17 great-grandchildren, seven of whom were showing animals at the Shelby County Fair.
Along with Adams and Knasel being honored as the oldest fairgoers, Norlene and Bernard Cotterman were honored as the longest married couple at the fair. The couple from Sidney has been married for 73 years.
Each of the honorees were awarded with a plaque and a quilt.
Twenty-four seniors also received raffle prizes, most of which were gift cards ranging in values from $10 to $25 to local restaurants and retail establishments. Two winners received a one-year membership to the Senior Center of Sidney Shelby County.
The Senior Center of Sidney Shelby County had 21 volunteers at the Senior Citizens Day who prepared 500 free lunches for guests 60 and older. Each lunch came in a reusable insulated bag filled with a freshly made sausage sandwich from the Shelby County Pork Producers, apple sauce, a bag of chips, a cookie and a bottle of water.
The Senior Center of Sidney Shelby County’s choir, the Senior Center Singers, entertained guests at the beginning of the Senior Citizens Day festivities. The group has been together for seven years and performs at nursing homes, churches and other functions including the fair’s Veterans Day and Senior Citizens Day ceremonies the past two days.
The group, which has approximately 40 members, is open to anyone 50 or older with the oldest member being 88 years old. It accepts people of all singing abilities.
“I don’t care whether they read music or they don’t read music,” said Director Freda Maxson, who leads the group along with fellow volunteer Sharon Geissler. “If they want to sing, I take them. If they don’t match pitch, they hide in there somewhere.”
The Senior Center Singers perform all kinds of music with patriotic tunes among the members’ favorites. They closed Tuesday’s performance with a melody of patriotic songs.
The Senior Center Singers are preparing for their fall concert, which will be at 3 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Senior Center of Sidney Shelby County. The group, which always welcomes new members 50 and older, practices from 10 to 11 a.m. every Monday and Friday at the senior center.
The Shelby County Fair continues Wednesday with its second Industrial Day. Highlights of Wednesday’s activities include harness racing, a performance by the Hobbs Sisters and a hypnosis show by Mike Bishop Comedy.
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