(Publisher’s note: The spelling of Tom Zatkovich‘s name has been corrected and noted.)
There was some special pomp and circumstance before the start of the demolition derby at the 75th Annual Chelsea Community Fair on Tuesday, Aug. 21.
About six members of the Chelsea American Legion Post 31 unfurled and raised the flag on a new huge flag pole.
Among the Legion members president were: Lenard McDougall, a 29-year member, Tom Zatkovich, commander, Ray Lutovsay, 60-year member, Mike Hassatt, 6-year member, Bob Bauer, 37-yer member, John Beeman and Mike Grambau, Sons of the American Legion.
It took some planning, Rick Boham, fair president said, but Boone and Darr Construction moved the large pole thanks to the efforts of Joe Menord, crane operator, from its former location at Old Manchester Road and M-52 to the fairgrounds and erected it before the fair began below the Main Arena.
“The Heim Family contacted us to see if we were interested in the flagpole and told us we could have it, but we’d need to move it,” he said.
So, the fair board made arrangements and Legion Post 31 members and boy scouts were on hand for the retirement of the old flag on the original pole in the front of the fair grounds and the official flag raising in the new site.
The special flag dedication took place after the driver’s meeting before the opening heats of the Chelsea Community Fair Demolition Derby.
Following the flag raising, Sally Walters returned to the fair for the 17th year to sing a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.
“I’ve been doing it here since I was 15 (years old),” she said, adding she’s come back because she looks forward to singing at the fair every year.
With what only could be called Chamber of Commerce Weather for the opening day of the fair, Boham couldn’t have been happier for the kick-off to the week.
“This is what it’s all about,” he said, following a full year of preparations. “It’s Tuesday, it’s opening day. The place has been filling up since 4 p.m.”
And Boham, in his third year at the helm, had the opportunity to be the president during this unique 75th anniversary.
“I’m looking forward to the flag dedication, which honors Chelsea’s Hometown Heroes,” he said before the event.
In addition, he recommended that everyone visit the Green Barn and check out a video that’s playing continuously, celebrating the fair over the years. He said viewers will see current fair board members as kids showing their animals, among the other highlights of the previous 75 years.
“It’s really good,” he said.
Gloria Mitchell, a superintendent for the antiques area of the Green Barn, said Sunday that copies of the video will be offered for sale.
She and her husband, John, were instrumental in organizing information about the fair’s long and successful history, Boham said.