BRADFORD — Gerald “Butch” and Lynne Hart, who oversee the entries in the produce department at the Bradford Pumpkin Show each year, have been named grand marshals of Saturday’s Extravaganza Parade and Miami County Fire Prevention Parade, which will begin at 4 p.m.
The Harts spent most of Monday night and Tuesday morning welcoming and registering produce items for children and adults that will be judged at this year’s Pumpkin Show.
“We’ve been doing this for the last 15 to 20 years,” she said. “We got involved when friends asked us to do it. My husband was raised on a farm and he loves this.”
She went on to say that the family started out working at the Pumpkin Show when their sons were in Boy Scouts in the 1970s.
“We stuffed confetti and packed it,” she said. “Butch and I still sell it once a night here. If you grow up with confetti, you either love it or hate it. I’d totally miss it if we didn’t have it.”
Every night of the Pumpkin Show, with the exception of Wednesday which is Royalty Night, confetti is traditionally thrown in the crowds, at other people, onto the streets and properties and even in to local homes.
The Harts grew up in Bradford; Lynne, the daughter of the late Jerome and Grace Weider, and Butch, the son of the late Harold and Idella Hart.
They met when Butch was 13.
“I was on her dad’s baseball team,” he said.
“Butch is a year older than me,” Lynne said. “He graduated in 1961 and I in 1962. We were high school sweethearts.”
They have been married 51 years, having wed on Feb. 8, 1964, and are the parents of three sons, Jim of Bradford, Mike of Covington and Eric of Bradford as well as nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Now, they are both retired; he from General Motors and she from Nationwide Insurance.
“I still work part-time for Bradford Library as a fill-in,” she said.
Lynne said they also help with the local Community Club and she with the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, where she is active in doing such things as funeral dinners and serves as one of the “cleaning angels” there.
And, she enjoys taking care of the grandchildren.
“I love all of them,” she said.
His hobbies include golf and gardening.
“We have a farm outside Greenville and it’s in a reserve, ” he said. “We call it Graceland.”
This week has been a busy one for the Harts.
“It’s a lot of work and a lot of fun with a lot of friends of all ages who come back,” she said.
How do each feel about being selected as grand marshals?
“I was surprised and very honored,” she said. “There are a lot of people here. It’s a little community and it takes a lot of people to put on a festival.”
Butch remarked, “It’s a privilege to think that they’d think that much of us to put us in this situation.”
The Pumpkin Show ends Saturday night. It began on Tuesday, with lots of activities scheduled daily, including parades which take place everyday.
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