For many years the Fayette County Extension Office has handled the day-to-day operations of the Fayette County Junior Fair shows and competitions, but the Fayette County Senior Fair Board will take over those responsibilities this year.
According to senior fair board vice president Doug Marine, the board recently decided to take over the management of the junior fair. This decision was made after a recommendation was made from the OSU Extension based on concepts for senior fair boards around the state to take over the operations of their respective junior fairs.
“The concept was designed by OSU Extension so that the senior fair boards would take responsibility for running the junior fairs and handling all of the activities of the junior fairs,” Marine said during a recent interview. “OSU Extension employees, under the concept, will handle 4-H up to the start of the fair, handling the education portion. For many years the Extension Office has handled the education up to the fair and then they managed the junior fair functions. They managed the shows, sales, the junior fair board and all of the other junior fair activities during the fair.”
Marine said that OSU came up with the idea for senior fair boards to take over about six to eight years ago and it has since occurred in other counties.
“The senior fair board is ultimately responsible for what happens at the fairgrounds and for what happens at the fair,” Marine said. “This decision takes the Extension staff out of the middle. If there is a situation that arises, they would have to come to us anyways to make a final decision. The idea is that the Extension can focus and maintain the education, and the senior fair board can focus on the fair.”
In this endeavor, OSU Extension recommended hiring a junior fair coordinator on the senior fair board Marine said, which led to the recent hiring of Amanda Ivey as the junior fair coordinator. Ivey was introduced to the rest of the senior fair board and Fayette Extension Office employees last week at the Extension Office on U.S. 22.
“I welcome the challenge and the Extension Office has done a great job managing the fair,” Ivey said during the meeting. “But times are changing and the fair board needs to change roles, and they hired me for this position and we want to make the fair as great as possible for the youth involved in 4-H and FFA, and keep going forward with it. I will handle junior fair entries and the junior fair board. I will also be over junior fair competitions at the fair.”
Marine said that Ivey has a 4-H background as a participant, as well as experience in managing the fair programs at the Arkansas State Fair. She has been on, as a youth and young adult, multiple national livestock advisory boards, according to Marine. With her knowledge and background in fair management, Marine said they sought her out for the position.
“We have been lucky in Fayette County to have had an outstanding Extension program for many years,” Marine said. “We are also fortunate that we have the support of our county commissioners in helping to fund our Extension program. This transition will allow the Extension to focus on education to continue the excellent programs that our youth have been exposed to. There is no downside to this transition, it is all positive, and it is going smoothly. My only regret is that we should have started this process sooner.”
Pat Brinkman, the family and consumer sciences educator for OSU Extension in Fayette County, said that they are happy to hand over a lot of the responsibilities to Ivey and the senior fair board. She said that they know the Extension Office’s role is education and the decision should allow Extension educators to try some new ventures of educating that they were previously unable to do.
“We are looking forward to doing our education and doing more on that end than we have been able to in the past,” Brinkman said.
Stay with the Record-Herald as more information becomes available for the 2017 Fayette County Fair.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy