Grand Marshals have close ties to Spring Fair
It would be difficult to find a family with closer ties to the Merced County Spring Fair than the O'Banion family of Dos Palos.
Chosen by the fair's board of directors as grand marshals of the 2013 Spring Fair, Jerry and Dollie O'Banion will be carrying on a family tradition. Jerry's father, Emory, twice had the honor of serving as the fair's grand marshal. The fairgrounds' main exhibit building carries the O'Banion name.
Jerry and Dollie O'Banion's selection as grand marshals comes after years of service and involvement with the fair. The board takes into consideration community spirit, residency and support of the fair's mission when choosing this annual honor.
"We are honored to have such supportive and dedicated people in the O'Banions to represent this great community and county event," said Ron Brandt, fair manager.
Jerry and Dollie O'Banion, who have been married for 45 years, live in Dos Palos on the family farm. Jerry, who has been a Merced County supervisor for 22 years, is a partner with his brother and nephew in a diversified row crop and dairy operation. Dollie O'Banion is retired from teaching at Dos Palos High School. The couple's three children, Lynnette Pastori, Carrie Miller and Jeremy O'Banion all reside in Dos Palos. Jeremy O'Banion also sits on the fair's board of directors.
Born and raised in Dos Palos, Jerry O'Banion showed Hereford cattle at the fair in 4-H and FFA divisions. He had the honor of showing the grand champion market steer at the 1965 Merced County Spring Fair and remembers receiving 90 cents a pound for the animal. He also worked in the fair's livestock department in the late 1960s'.
Jerry and Dollie, who was born in Los Banos, lived in Fresno the first ten years of their marriage and Jerry attended Fresno State where he received a degree in Vocational Agriculture. He was 4-H Youth Advisor for Fresno County from 1969-1973. After his father passed away in 1973, Jerry and Dollie returned to Dos Palos to help keep the farm operating.
Jerry served as mayor of Dos Palos from 1987 to 1990 when he was elected to the county board of supervisors. His father was also a Merced county supervisor.
The O'Banion's three children also participated in the Spring Fair, showing dairy heifers, a lamb and beef cattle. This year the next generation will enter the show ring as two granddaughters will be showing market hogs.
The O'Banion's are looking forward to a very unique ride in the Spring Fair Parade. A 1864 Barouche carriage drawn by black Shires will carry them on the parade route. The carriage, which has been on display at the Red Top home of Allan Clark and Susan Lyons, was built for the queen of England to be used in India during royal visits.
Former passengers also include Queen Mary, and King George, Lord Mountbatten and maharajas of India. It has also been used in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.
The O'Banions will be introduced as fair grand marshals at the annual kick-off dinner.