Sunday, January 4, 2015

The White House Country Fair (1968)

 The White House Country Fair
 Lynda Bird Johnson try’s to win a prize

Type Of Activity
 White House Staff  Event
 Washington DC
Date of Activity
 September 9th 1968

LBJ White House Country Fair Monday Sep. 9 1968
In 1968 LBJ had one of his famous BBQ's on the south lawn of the White House for the Staff and their Spouses.  The 1968 election was about two months away and a new President would be elected, and the Johnsons were saying Thank You to the entire White House staff for the last four years of support. WHCA was in the middle of an election campaign that for the first time included support for all active candidates.

Invite to the White House Country Fair
When Joanne and I received the invitation, we didn’t know if we would be able to attend because Joanne was pregnant with our oldest daughter Kathie and I was traveling a lot making numerous campaign stops. Joanne had quite an ordeal to find the right dress to wear to The White House.
1968 White House Country Fair
We arrived at The White House with Al and Sonia Jensen that evening and to our amazement there was a typical Country Fair on the South Lawn of the White House, complete with a Ferris Wheel and Merry-Go-round.

View of the midway from Top of the ferris wheel
You could win little trinkets like a 6" ruler with White House Country Fair 1968 inscribed on it or a ball point pen with the same inscription.   Joanne and I had our picture taken with the White House in the background, but we have unfortunately misplaced that photo.  There was plenty of beer and food and we had a great time.

South Lawn at The White House 
BBQ was the main course
Joanne and I loaded up on the BBQ and sat down at a table that was across from Liz Carpenter who was the press secretary to the first lady, Lady Bird Johnson (1963–1969), for whom she also served as staff director. Suddenly the lights went out and we set there in the dark for only a few seconds, when they came back on Liz made the comment, “I wonder if Lyndon is trying to tell us it’s time to go home”!

The entertainment that night was Buck Owens and his son. He was great and their music was perfect for this occasion.
 Buck Owens on the South Lawn of The White House (1968)
 The President did go to the South Grounds  to the Country Fair for White House staff members and spouses at about 8:30 pm. He spent about a half an hour at the fair and then returned to the residence in The White House.

That was one thing that LBJ was good at was including WHCA in these staff functions like the children's Christmas parties as well as the staff Christmas parties. In less than two months from this event we had a new President and the Johnson’s would then return to Texas and the ranch.