ADA - Do you remember attending your first pet parade or talent show at the Farmers and Merchants Picnic? How about playing in the softball tournaments or the first Bessie Bingo game? These and other activities have all been a part of the picnic over the last 100 years.Below is a timeline of memorable firsts in Farmers and Merchants Picnic entertainment and activities:
1914 - First Farmers and Merchants Picnic takes place in the park and around the Village of Ada on Aug. 19. Entertainment included an umbrella race for the ladies, fat man's race and free lemonade.
1916 - A man-eating shark surely drew almost as many crowds as a visit and speech by Ohio Governor Frank Bartlett Willis, a graduate of Ohio Northern University
1917 - The community of Ada welcomed the 2nd Ohio Infantry as guests for dinner during the F&M Picnic. A 150- foot table was laden with so much food that the remnants were auctioned off with proceeds going to the soldiers mess fund. This was the first picnic held during a time of war and the community would once again host soldiers as guests in years to come.
1922 - 65 gallons of ice cream are served
1929 - The first Ada Garden Club Flower Show was held
1930 - Pets became guests in the first Pet Parade
1937 - Ada's new swimming pool was dedicated
1944 - A rodeo and plane rides brought excitement to picnic goers
1946 - The first Horse Show took place
1952 - First Sunday talent shows held leading up to the picnic
1953 - Joan Tressell is named Ada Centennial Queen during the 40th picnic which happened to fall during the five days of Ada's Centennial celebration. The title Farmers and Merchants Picnic Queen would be used starting in 1954.
1960 - 8,500 soft drinks are sold during the picnic
1963 - 50th Farmers and Merchants Picnic
1968 - Extreme heat and humidity, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees in the shade, failed to keep the crowds away from the park on picnic day. Fifty-two kids participated in the Pet Parade with decorated bicycles and costumed pets
1983 - A Commodore personal computer with disk drive was the grand prize for the lucky raffle winner of the F&M queen tickets sales contest. A Showcase of Bands was held for the second year.
1987 - The Farmers and Merchants Picnic Association Board of Directors votes to move the picnic to Saturday following years of discussion on the matter
1988 - 75th Farmers and Merchants Picnic
1997 - For the first time a Little Princess is crowned instead of a queen
1998 - A Country Talent Search and 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament highlighted the picnic
2012 - The first F&M Picnic Golf Cart Pull is held
2013 - 100th Farmers and Merchants Picnic