First fair queen, a former Tecumseh resident, returns for reunion at fairgrounds
In 1962, Diane Fox was nominated by her ski club to compete in the first Lenawee County Fair Queen contest. “I remember them announcing my name and being shocked I won,” said Fox. “I was active in my town and county ski club. They are the ones that nominated me in 1962. I never expected to win.”
Fox will return to the fair 52 years later as part of a fair queen reunion set to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the fair. “I’m pretty excited about the whole thing,” said Karen Roback, one of the organizers.
“This is a very high honor for me,” Fox said.
She will join 18 other former queens participating in the 2014 Lenawee County Fair. Fox and the other queens were offered the opportunity to perform in the talent portion of the 2014 contest in addition to riding in the parade and attending the program.
“I have 19 women coming to the program,” said Roback. “Sixteen women are riding in the parade and 10 women are performing.”
Fox comes back regularly to the area to visit family and friends. Since she was back for a visit in 2013, she was not originally going to come back for the reunion.
When Fox’s daughter learned about the fair queen reunion, she insisted her mother come back. Her daughter’s family is coming with Fox to enjoy the special moment.
When Roback organized a reunion six years ago, Fox was one of the former fair queens she could not locate. For this reunion a local friend of Fox told her about the reunion and Fox called Roback with her location and current information.
“It was just so wonderful of her to come back,” Roback said. “I thought, how cool was that?”
Fox grew up in Tecumseh, and after the Lenawee County Fair in 1962 moved west to California. She lived in San Francisco for 23 years where she raised her son and daughter, and now is a proud grandmother of six grandchildren ranging in age from 12 to 23. “My family is the joy of my life,” said Fox.
There are many fond memories for Fox of her years in Tecumseh. “I enjoyed school and participated in school plays,” Fox said. “I used to work at the Jack Pine Drive-In.”
She got a dental job while attending Tecumseh High School and went to school for dental assisting after high school.
Fox is still working, only now she spends time with preschoolers instead of dental patients. Her memories of the Fair Queen pageant are pretty faded, but she does remember there was no talent contest in 1962 and her dress was cobalt blue.
“They did ask us questions,” said Fox. “I just remember trying to walk and keep my balance.”
Roback and the rest of the committee have put together a program for the event. I’ve got current and former pictures for those who provided them to me, and each have a little bio,” Roback said. “Each one of them will get a sash with their year on it.”
The Lenawee County Fair parade began at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 20, and the official former queen reunion was set for 6 p.m. on Sunday. At 7 p.m. the 2014 fair queen pageant was to finish the day’s fair activities.