History of the Tipp City Mum Festival
It might well have been a “Tomato Festival.” At least, that was a suggestion when the Tipp City newly-formed Chamber of Commerce was looking for some sort of symbol to represent the city. Somehow, the scarlet fruit of the many green acres that the Timmers grew did not readily lend itself to “arrangement” or widespread ornamentation.
Chamber president Dick Stiles took up the suggestion of Otto Frings, who had just returned with his wife Isabel, from their first view of the Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan. His suggestion was “if Holland can have a festival honoring the tulip, why not a mum (chrysanthemum) festival in Tipp City?”
It was true that Spring Hill Nurseries was growing, selling, and shipping this particular horticultural product of theirs – the garden chrysanthemum – at such a rate that it was easy, not much later, for Tipp City to adopt the name, “Mum Capital of the World.”
Frings’ suggestion was adopted and he found himself in 1957 appointed to head a planning committee. The original decision, after Isabel and Otto Frings visited other festivals, was made by Isabel, who became the next Chamber president. This called, after many meetings, for a festival to be held in 1958, probably in October.
Despite many meetings later and gradually ironing out some of the snags, it was decided to postpone the first such event until 1959. This was under the direction of John Benham and Tom Kyle Jr. as co-chairmen.
“Mum’s the Word on October 3rd” read six-foot letters on the water tower in midtown that fall. It is said that the “largest crowd ever assembled in Tipp City” (up to that time) came to see the first parade, which had nine bands and 61 antique cars. Each band nominated candidates for queen, with Janet Treon of Miami East being the first queen chosen. She was crowned on the steps of the Monroe Township Building at Third and Main Streets.
The gradual evolution of queen nomination would take a whole story, in itself, to the present day. Candidates go through a two-day process leading up to the Queen’s Pageant.
The queen rides with her court, all beautifully gowned on a special float, a feature added in 1960, the first year the float appeared. Every year since, with the exception of 1969, the queen and her court have ridden on their float — sometimes with rain gear hiding their beautiful gowns.
In 1969, Tipp City High School’s first queen, Ann Rousculp Lorms, had to peer out from a closed car, the rain was so heavy. John and Joe Patten (“the designing twins”) created the first queen’s float.
“Mums and Music,” as a float theme, established another first in 1962. This was also the year that incorporation became necessary as the festival grew beyond the parade, Main Street flower show, and decorations of potted mums.
Dr. William Gabel became the first president and gradually through the years by-laws have been established, with two major revisions made in them, which still regulate the way in which the organization — officers, responsibilities, committee heads, meetings, and other details are handled.
This year there are committees that oversee activities from the Queen’s Pageant, the parade, the Run for the Mums, increased emphasis on children’s activities, a larger entertainment program, the Friday night activities, including Little Miss and Mr. Mum competition, continually expanding arts and crafts show, plus food concessions and a Motorcycle Ride.
To continue some early history, when Dick Breckett was president in 1963, the overall theme was established for the parade and flower show (the latter is no more). A “Home Beautification” traveling trophy, donated by A.O. Smith (now Regal Corp.), was established for the best display of mums. The floats were separated in classifications for judging, and judging of the flower show on Friday evening, instead of Mum Day, was established.
The latter continued through 1973, but no committee was available after that. However, the increased amount of arts and crafts has replaced this with more emphasis on park activities, as well as establishment of a flea market in 1976 to help fill the void.
The weather was one of the big headaches in the earlier years. Bill MacLeod gets the credit for describing the date of the “Big Parade” as being “The second rainy Saturday in October.”
The original weekend had been set to coordinate with the annual band competition, which the music department at Tippecanoe High School hosted.
Better weather has prevailed since changing the Mum Festival weekend to September!
Past Presidents, Themes, and Queens
|1959||Tom Kyle||Janet Treon||Miami East|
|1960||Otto Frings||Betty Wells||Fairborn|
|1961||Music Through the Ages||Joyce Crowell||Bradford|
|1962||Mums and Music||Dr. William Gabel||Nancy Rehse||West Carrollton|
|1963||Around the World in Color||Dick Brockert||Katie Marsh||Fairborn|
|1964||Famous Firsts||Robert Wagner||Wilma Reed||Miami East|
|1965||Our American Heritage||Neal Sonnanstine||Cynthia Winnie||Beavercreek|
|1966||Mr. President||Steve White||Margaret Allen||Fairmont West|
|1967||Holidays in Mums||Steve White||Jacqueline Clawson||Miami East|
|1968||Once Upon a Time||Jim Bayliff||Cheryl Weaver||Versailles|
|1969||Music Time USA||Jim Wilson||Ann Rousculp||Tipp City|
|1970||Famous Movies||Don Butts||Debbie Thomas||Miami East|
|1971||International Holidays||Ron Mettert||Janet Suber||Miami East|
|1972||Saluting the 50 States||Ken Withrow||Kin Ulrich||Franklin Monroe|
|1973||Sports Time USA||Dale Mullenix||Nan Seybold||Tipp City|
|1974||Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow||Jack Hapner||Neta Louise Cool||Newton|
|1975||Bicentennial – Our Nation’s 200th Birthday||Don Heckman||Sherry Green||Versailles|
|1976||Festivals USA||Florence Mullenix||Teresa Borchers||Versailles|
|1977||Landmarks of the World||Pat Hinde||Lorie Ann Besecker||Franklin Monroe|
|1978||Miami Valley Memories||Stan Evans||Laura Fleming||Tipp City|
|1979||Children’s Fantasies||Jean Rogers||Lora Peters||Tipp City|
|1980||Return to the Roaing 20’s||Jesse Chamberlain||Lisa Traughber||Troy|
|1981||Great Outdoors||Marilyn Fennell||Candi Coon||Tipp City|
|1982||Famous Movies||Sandy Heilman||Melanie Glover||Bethel|
|1983||A Touch of Silver – 25 Years Gone By||Marilyn Richards||Jennifer Tomsen||Vandalia|
|1984||Fall Favorites||Gloria Coffield||Michelle McCabe||Arcanum|
|1985||Television on Parade||Tom Dysinger||Jeannette Brehm||Franklin Monroe|
|1986||American Pastimes||Rick Mains||Mary Gray||Greenville|
|1987||Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness||Connie Geel||Tammy Biser||Tipp City|
|1988||Mum “Petals” Thru the 50’s||Doug Amlin||Janel Cloyd||Tri-Village|
|1989||Mardi Gras of Mums||Dick Bender||Kelly Sultzbach||Vandalia|
|1990||Tipp City: 150 Years Remembered||Tom Marzano||Kristin Buckles||Vandalia|
|1991||International Celebration of Mums||Chuck Deskins||Bridgette Marie Ferraro||Wayne|
|1992||Once Upon a Time||Kelly Gillis||Amelia Sutton||Tipp City|
|1993||Holidays on Parade||Kelly Gillis||Tammy Roe||Wayne|
|1994||Fantasies on Parade||Carol Farron||Deborah Elson||Vandalia|
|1995||Bloomin’ with Country||Will Roberts||Ami Busic||Tipp City|
|1996||Proud to be American||George Lovett||Marilyn Tebbe||Bethel|
|1997||Experience Mum Magic||Pat Hale||Paige Prince||Tipp City|
|1998||Rock Around the Clock||Tom Davidson||Kariann Michalski||Tipp City|
|1999||Just Having Fun||Brian & Shelley Tebbe||Kristyn Sliver||Vandalia|
|2000||Mums Under the Big Top||Pamela Hale & Will Roberts||Emily Reeves||Tipp City|
|2001||Mums Under the Sun||Bob Freeman||Sarah Simmons||Vandalia|
|2002||America Blooms in 2002||Brian Stewart||Mary Simons||Vandalia|
|2003||Mums are Us||Jill Barhorst||Tiffany Dykstra||Vandalia|
|2004||Peace, Love & Mums||Pam Fischer||Brittany Tindall||Vandalia|
|2005||Mums on Fire||Carol English||Lauren Pratt||Vandalia|
|2006||Saluting our Veterans||Nick Anderson||Lauren Vallo||Vandalia|
|2007||Mums About Sports||Nick Anderson||Lori Bishop||Vandalia|
|2008||Celebrating 50 Years of Family, Friends & Community||Will Roberts||Cassie Denniston||Tipp City|
|2009||We Love our Mums||Amber Corkhill||Catherine Barrow||Northmont|
|2010||Mum’s the Word!||Kate Taylor||Charlie Kleptz||Northmont|
|2011||Cruise-In to the Tipp City Mum Festival||Jim Fry||Alexa Lammers||Tipp City|
|2012||Vintage Mums …. Long Live the 50’s||Mary Thomas||Hailey Winblad||Tipp City|
|2013||How the West Was Mum’D||Ashley Helmer||Margo Shininger||Tipp City|
|2014||All Aboard with the Mums||Russ Thayer||Taylor Merrick||Tipp City|
|2015||Toadally Crazy about Mums||Michelle Ireton||Lydia Etchison||Tipp City|
|2016||Revving up the Mums||Corey Rismiller||Rachel Martin||Troy|
|2017||Honoring our Heroes, Near and Far||Dave Bechtol||Randi Fraizer||Troy|
|2018||Sixty Years in the Books||William House||Emily Ringo||Tipp City|
|2019||Mumstock ’19||Mary Thomas|
|2021||Return of the MUMmy Festival||Corey Rismiller|
|2022||Saved By The Mums||Kevin Cox|