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Following the happenings of The News-Herald Community Media Lab, as well as the library and archive, where we're digging to find historic people, places, events and things to see how much the times have changed or how much they have stayed the same.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Looking back at the Geauga County Maple Festival

It's the sweetest time of year in Chardon -- time for the Geauga County Maple Festival!

I took a look through the newsroom archives and found some clippings from the festival from the mid-1990s (when Chardon was still a village).

I was surprised to see that in 1994, "CBS This Morning" filmed a segment from Geauga County. Champion ax tosser Rudy Dettmer made quick work of a log in front of 4.5 million viewers:
(Check out that snow on the ground -- part of the reason the festival now takes place at the end of April.)

Published the same day as the above article: Heavy snow caused a tent to collapse:

I liked this photo, also from the 1994 Maple Festival, of two girls on the paratrooper ride. (I hope the ride was a bit more fun once it started, because these girls look a little bored.)

Also from 1994: This story starts out with a cute anecdote of a man who proposed to woman with the help of a plane's banner, which had her name spelled wrong. Sure hope he got his money back. (But at least she said yes.)

Also in 1994, Staff Writer John Horton participated in the famous bathtub races. His News-Herald team didn't win, but sounds like they had fun trying.

The clipping below is a nice feature on the grand marshal of the 1997 Geauga County Maple Festival parade. Ture Johnson of Burton Township has quite the resume. Johnson died in 2001, and his obituary lists his accomplishments: Burton High basketball coach; volunteer fireman with the Burton Volunteer Fire Department; officer and founding member of Berkshire Athletic Booster Club (where he was instrumental in establishing a lighted football field with stadium seating and a concession stand); director/coach of man youth league teams; several responsibilities with Burton Congregational Church; member of the Burton Chamber of Commerce for 50 years; member of Geauga Maple Festival Board for more than 40 years; organizer of the Ohio Christmas Tree Growers Association and the Maple Syrup Council; and planter of more than 1 million trees in Northeast Ohio. Johnson was clearly an incredible asset to the region and a great choice for the parade's grand marshal.
Read more about Johnson's life and accomplishments in his obituary.

Another clipping from 1997: 7-year-old Alex Armstrong and 8-year-old Andy Weybrect in a pizza-eating contest.

Staff Writer John Horton returned to the bathtub races again in 1997. The News-Herald team -- which also included Horton's wife, Debbie, and Joe Milicia -- cruised to a first-place finish.

What are your favorite memories of the Geauga County Maple Festival?

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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