Richland Co. Fairgrounds

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Noon Optimist Club

Centennial Celebration 100 years 1923-2023

Optimist Clubs were started in New York State & Indianapolis in 1926 with 15 members.

The Mansfield Optimist Club was installed on October 16th 1923 by judge Nick Nolan who was former president of Optimist International and past Ohio Governor of Optimist International. He was also the speaker at the club’s 25th anniversary in 1948 and spoke briefly at the club’s 50th anniversary in 1973 at the old Blue Dolphin.

Our club first met in the Leland Hotel, and when it was torn down, the club moved to the Fireside Restaurant on Diamond St.

Elks (many years) – 3rd & Mulberry
Blue Dolphin (short time) – 5 way light
Holiday Inn

We have had one major fundraiser a year since 1950 when the Optimist Home & Flower Show was held in old North Lake Park Coliseum. It remained there for 15 years. In 1967 the show’s name was changed to the Home & Leisure Living Show, and was held for a time at the Richland Mall. The next major move was to the Richland County FairGrounds, where it remains today.

Other bits of our history can be found on the display tables, or by talking with the older members.

Mansfield Noon Optimist Club

Celebrating 100 Years of Being “Friends of Youth”

An artist's rendering of the concepts behind an outdoor playground at the Little Buckeye Children's Museum, sponsored by the Mansfield Noon Optimist Club.
An artist’s rendering of the concepts behind an outdoor playground at the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, sponsored by the Mansfield Noon Optimist Club.
Above is an artist's rendering of the concepts behind an outdoor playground at the Little Buckeye Children's Museum, sponsored by the Mansfield Noon Optimist Club.

Extraordinary opportunities can be created through finding unity in collaboration.

In October of 1923, the Mansfield Optimist Club was created with a mission of “providing hope and positive vision and bringing out the best in youth, our communities, and ourselves.” Over the years, the Optimist Club has contributed to the community through their support of many youth-based programs, including Adopt-A-Child, Coats for Kids, various student essay contests, college scholarship opportunities, Miss Ohio Pageants, and many more. 

As Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Over the years, the Optimist Club has formed many relationships with other businesses and non-profits in the community to strengthen their efforts to support the youth of the Mansfield area. This year, the Mansfield Optimist Club will be celebrating their 100th year anniversary and seeks to raise $100,000 in donations to further their participation in benefitting the community by:

  • Continuing collaboration with Little Buckeye Children’s Museum/Buckeye Imagination Museum to provide an ADA accessible children’s park in downtown Mansfield
  • Providing larger scholarship sums to students seeking financial aid for college
  •  Increasing the number of children served by Adopt-A-Child and other Optimist Club programs
  • Increasing the overall support given towards the community youth

This project will benefit the community by creating a fun and engaging outdoor gathering space in the Imagination District – a major investment towards the betterment of the community for both children and adults. Community parks have been found to create safe and beautiful spaces for community members to meet and interact and can greatly reduce an area’s level of violence and crime. Parks are also good for the local economy, as they can increase nearby property values up to 20% and attract visitors from all over. Overall, creating the only public-use park in downtown Mansfield will provide a safe and entertaining space for all visiting families.

With your help, the Mansfield Optimist Club can provide this park and benefit the community on multiple fronts. By building a park in this specific location, the Optimist Club will be connecting this area of the city with the rest of downtown Mansfield, providing future economic growth while simultaneously strengthening the foundation of this community for future generations. Collaboration on this project will help Mansfield Optimist Club to make this celebration of 100 years of service an extraordinary event for all of the community to enjoy for the many years to come!

If there are any further questions regarding this project, please contact Kevin Zehe at: medohiosrv@gmail.com


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