WELLINGTON — For Brian Twining, the Lorain County Fair is a family tradition that reaches back far longer than his 11 years on the fair board.
The 53-year-old is the son of the late Ron Twining, and just like his father, who won the Clair Hill Director’s Memorial Award in 1988, Twining was bestowed the honor Monday morning — a few hours after the opening of the 2013 county fair. He was at a loss for words as he was handed the award and a gift from Elyria’s Vandermark Jewelers.
“It’s pretty good when you can make me speechless, but thank you,” Twining said in his brief remarks before leaving the stage.
Afterward, he walked inside the fair board office to stand near the long list of past winners, a list that includes his father.
“I know at least 85 to 90 percent of the people who have received this award,” he said. “I am in good company and not just my father. Merritt Parker was the first recipient in 1960, and I remember him because he gave me my first orphan lamb to show at the fair when I was 6 years old.”
The Clair Hill award is named in honor of a former fair board secretary who easily was one of the most instrumental people to make sure the fairs of yesteryear went off without a hitch.
“The winner is picked by the executive board that looks for the fair board member that goes above and beyond, but no one knows who the winner is until the first day of the fair. We call it the best kept secret of the fair,” said Twining, who also serves as dairy superintendent. “Picking the winning can’t be easy because I know this bunch of people give their all for the fair every year.”
Twining said he has the perfect place for his award. It will be placed right next to his father’s award, which he inherited after the patriarch passed away.
“I have his green jacket, too,” he said. “When you join the fair board you can get your own green jacket, but I’m lucky I have his. Every time I put on that jacket, it’s like a reminder to do it well and do it right. This award will be just like that.”