WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP — In 1952 — with $1.20 and $1, respectively, in their pockets — Alverna (Toots) Schlosser (now Hotchkiss) and her brother, Gerald, went to the Crawford County Fair as part of Rural School Day.

Alverna was 12 and Gerald, 11. He had earned his dollar helping his dad burn brush and pull mustard out of the oats field. Hers was from an allowance she had saved.

One of the first thing the pair bought in 1952 was candy apples — at a cost of 15 cents. They then went to the merry-go-round where they parted with 9 more cents each.

They were featured in a Meadville Tribune story showing what two kids did at the fair.

Fifty-four years later, the two — both of whom live in the Saegertown area — are still going to the Crawford County Fair. In fact, both have attended every day of the fair since that 1952 interview.

“I love it. I love watching people. I love the flowers. I love to eat and I HAVE to sell the grange cookbooks,” said now-grange member Toots about why she spends so much time at the fair.

“I go to watch,” said her brother. While Toots is often in the Agricultural Building with the grange displays, Schlosser spends his time “in the horse barns all day. All I do is watch others,” he said.

Both remember going to the fair with their parents. The late Melvin Schlosser was employed by the county and did a lot of the maintenance work at the fairgrounds. “He loved the fair, but he would never pay the prices for the food. He would pack his lunch and sit under a tree and eat it every day,” said Toots. “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” nodded Schlosser. “He thought that was the perfect lunch.”

In her 1952 Tribune interview, Toots said she supposed she would be a housewife when she grew up. She is, in fact, a housewife, but also worked in physical therapy and retired from PENNCREST School District where she worked in the cafeteria. “It’s always back to the food,” she laughed.

In his 1952 comments, Schlosser predicted he might become a farmer. Instead, he became a lineman for Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative Association. He retired recently. While he never did take up farming, he does have horses.

While Toots went to the county fair with $1.20 in ’52, she predicts she and her husband, John, will spend “$100 this week to eat at the fair.” She loves hot sausage sandwiches from East Mead Fire Department’s booth and pie from the Fallowfield United Methodist Church booth.

Her brother spends most of his time in the barns and predicts he will spend about $40 or $50 on food. He does leave the barn area for one thing — “Fallowfield’s pie. I always take a trip up here.”

While they both love the fair, both offered some changes they’d appreciate. “The midway. It’s too (much of a) carnival,” said Toots. “I’m different. I’m from the old school.” Her brother would move the farm equipment back to the original site on the road from Gate One. “I think they took too much from the farmers,” he said, saying it should be more visible. “I don’t agree with the midway either,” he said, noting he, too, likes a more traditional fair.

Both took their children to the fair nearly every day and now have taken their grandchildren as well.

Toots has another part of the fair that she never misses — the Miss Crawford County Scholarship Pageant. “I love it,” she said. “We have three girls (contestants) from Saegertown this year,” she said of her hometown. “I would not miss it.”

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