Girthal and Clarence Miller, of Whitehouse, say they’ve never missed an East Texas State Fair during their 66 years of marriage.

The Millers were one of the couples honored for the longest marriage at the Senior Day event Friday at the 104th annual fair.

“We enjoy it,” she said of the fair. “We’ve been coming for years since our kids were little.”

Joyce and Bob Pettit, of Tyler, were also given the longest marriage award for their 66 years.

Senior Day allowed seniors 55 and older free admission until 7 p.m. on the fair’s opening day. A special program in the Harvey Convention Center featured live entertainment, bingo, painting, prizes and recognitions.

“This is always a special day to kick off the 104th (East Texas) State Fair,” John Sykes, fair president and CEO, announced during Senior Day. “(It’s) such a pleasure to see all of you.”

The oldest man and woman were named king and queen of the fair as well. Sara Carbone, 98, of Tyler, was crowned this year’s queen and Willie Manoy, 90, of Chandler, was crowned the king.

Entertainment featured the John Tyler High School pep band and cheerleaders, Tyler Senior Center Dancers and Flappers, Texas College Chorus and the musical duo Bongo and the Point.

Mindy Lyons, 71, with the Tyler Senior Center Dancers and Flappers, has been a part of the group for three years.

“We just have a great time entertaining our seniors,” Lyons said. “I think it’s fantastic that we have women in their 80s doing the Charleston. Tyler’s a great place to be an active senior.”

Other senior activities were health screenings by Tyler Junior College nursing students and vendor booths from Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County, Azalea Orthopedics, Christus Health Plan, Humana, United Healthcare and UT Health East Texas.

TWITTER: @ZWellerman


I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.

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