Fair parade leader has local ag history

SMITHFIELD – A knowledgeable farm-oriented business man and who was knowledgeable of 4-H and growing livestock while still in his teens has been named grand marshal of the Jefferson County Fair parade.

When introduced by Linda Daily, fair board secretary, at the opening ceremonies earlier this week, Gil Boring received a standing ovation. He cut the ribbon for the start of the 142nd event and will ride in the grand parade to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday with all his family.

Boring joined 4-H in the 1940s, having sheep and steers in competition. In the 1950s, he and Bob Scott started a tractor club, and in 1957, his love of tractors and farm equipment became his occupation at Kuester’s Implement at 1436 state Route 152, Bloomingdale.

He became a member of the 4-H Committee in the 1960s, and in the 1970s, he joined the junior fair board.

There were many additions to the fair that made a move to Friendship Park in the early 1980s and Boring was part of that. A kitchen and four livestock structures were built on the property that housed only tents in its first years. The building to be used by the 4-H committee for a sit-down restaurant was built with donations from the Albert and Mary Schiappa Foundation, Schiappa Coal and Anthony Mining Co. Labor was furnished by the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School. There were four livestock barns built to take the place of four tents.

The Jefferson Beautification System gazebo was built for entertainment and for opening ceremonies and little did the board realize that it would be used for many wedding ceremonies through the years.

With Boring’s knowledge and love of tractors and trucks it was only logical that he would be the chairman of that department. There were four pulls scheduled for the six-day fair in 1986, and even a child’s pedal tractor pull for the little ones.

Antique farm equipment was on display and Boring and Ray Hilderbrand helped to start a wheat threshing demonstration at the fair for those who remembered that type of farming.

Mud bogs also were started at that time, and the cars made the mud fly. Scott Campbell was publicity chairman in 1987, when the announcement of mud bogs became the entertainment of the day. And Boring was chairman of the muddy event.

Kuester’s displays of the John Deere tractors and farm equipment were a popular place to meet for farmers and children alike to jump into a seat and pretend to be traveling over the grassy hills.

Daily said it was her favorite place to visit at the fair because of all the green tractors and being greeted by the big guy with the big smile – Gil Boring.

He and his family will likely climb aboard a horse-pulled wagon, not a John Deere tractor, and be greeted by friends and past customers along the parade route this Saturday.