GREENVILLE – The Board of Directors of the Darke County Agricultural Society is pleased to announce that Wayne Baker has been selected to be the 2019 Great Darke County Fair Parade Marshal. Throughout the 163-year history of the fair, so many people have put in countless hours to ensure the safety and enjoyment of each fair attendee. Many have worked behind the scenes.
This year’s parade marshal is one of these. Wayne’s association with the fair began in 1964, working with Bill’s Electric helping with electrical maintenance. From there he went to watering down and conditioning the race track. Wayne remembers a fact unknown to many, that at one time there was a tunnel under the track where officials and others could walk to get to the other side.
Sometime in the late 1960’s, Grant Delaplane came to Wayne and told him he had an offer he couldn’t refuse. Wayne then began the 45-year stint of spraying insecticides in the livestock buildings. Special sprays were utilized in some barns. Wayne’s knowledge of the chemicals came from his experience working at Amoco Oil, Crop Mate, and Landmark. Much of the spraying was done prior to opening day. During the fair, Wayne was responsible for insect control throughout the fairgrounds. In recent years, the spraying was done using a vintage Allis Chalmers D15 tractor. The sprayer that Wayne utilized was previously owned by a Mr. Crawford, who had done the spraying before Wayne.
After relinquishing his job in 2018, the Agricultural Society purchased the sprayer. Wayne took pride in his job – knowing he was helping to make the fair more sanitary for the animals, exhibitors, and visitors.
On a personal level, Wayne began coming to the fair at the age of five in 1946 with family traveling from Saratoga, Ind. He was married to Dee in 1963 until she passed away in 2016. During their 53-year marriage, they had four children, Don, Scott, Mike and Kristi. The family was involved with the fair with one son appearing in the melodramas produced by Dottie Seman and another son showing livestock for the FFA. Wayne was recently married to Elizabeth Delk, who owned and operated Stonehedge Tea Room. Much has gone into making the fair great, but one comment that Wayne heard repeatedly was the fact that the walkways and driveways were paved making it easier for the handicap coming to the fair. Even though Wayne no longer holds a position at the fair, he can be found on the fairgrounds feeding the squirrels during the off season.
PHOTO CAPTION: Wayne Baker