Trumbull’s first 4-H queen for county fair looks back

Her children follow in her footsteps and win trophies for raising livestock.



VIENNA — The Trumbull County Fair’s first 4-H queen to be crowned at the current fairgrounds sheds a few tears as she reminisces about her 4-H days.

Mariann DeChristofaro won the title in 1970 at the first Trumbull County Fair held in Bazetta Township. The fair for years prior was in the area of Warren G. Harding High School in Warren — moving to the country for more space.

DeChristofaro is a Niles McKinley High School graduate and has attended the Trumbull County Fair every year for as long as she can remember.

During her younger years, she was an active member in 4-H. She and her family showed steer at the fair and won many trophies and ribbons.

She was elected 4-H queen because of her dedication and commitment in 4-H. “It was a big honor back in those days,” she said. It was an honor to wear the velvet crown — bigger than being homecoming queen, she added.

“I was the queen of the whole county,” she said.

A different pageant

As queen, she handed out ribbons at the different livestock shows and attended the Ohio State Fair for the first time.

She entered the pageant at the state fair along with other 4-H queens from the 88 Ohio counties. “My whole family went to Columbus. It was a big deal,” she said.

It wasn’t a beauty pageant, like people think of today. She wore an evening gown and dress, no swimsuit.

As she looks through her scrapbook, she laughs about all the good times she had at the fair.

She remembered her first trophy she won in 1965 for junior showmanship for angus steer.

Every year in 4-H, she would make the schedules for the meetings and cut them out in animal shapes, such as cows. “We had a lot of fun in 4-H,” she said.

Family tradition

Her children, now 28 and 25, were and are still active in 4-H. She said she never won first place, but her children, Nick and Julie, won six grand champion steer.

She lives next door to her son, Nick, in Vienna while Julie lives in Columbus. Julie always comes back when it is time for the fair.

“She’s coming home this weekend because she can’t miss the fair,” she said.

Her children used to take steer to many shows, and they won more than 150 trophies.

“Nick was the groomer, and Julie was the shower,” she said.

She said that every year they got better. “They kinda start hating you in the county because you win so much,” she said, smiling.

DeChristofaro is one of four children — three girls and one boy all born one year apart.

She said her neighbors got her and her sisters involved in 4-H. She started when she was 12 years old.

“After my brother saw how much fun we were having, he joined,” she said.

DeChristofaro was a 4-H adviser for about 25 years after being a member. Now at age 55, she still gladly gets phone calls from younger advisers asking her questions about 4-H.

That runs in the family: Her son Nick gives advice to young 4-H members on how they can groom and raise award-winning steer.

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