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Awards

FAIR MEMBER RECOGNITION

2019 AWARD WINNERS

The Wisconsin Association of Fairs announced statewide award winners at their annual convention January 9, 2019 in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. These recipients of the Volunteer Group Appreciation Award, V.I.P. Award, Outstanding Fair Person Award, and Hall of Fame Award were recognized for their outstanding commitment to Wisconsin Fairs and contributions made to each of their county and district fairs.

Hall of Fame Awards

Fair board or county fair committee members active more than 12 years are eligible for the Hall of Fame Award. This year’s winners include:
  • District 1: Dennis Klement of the Langlade County Fair. If you thought of the fair activities before, during and after as a hurricane, Dennis would be the eye. The calm. Around the fairgrounds he can be heard reminding others to take a breath, be level headed and work together. Dennis has been the Grandstand Chairman for over 15 years where his responsibilities include setting up and tearing down all the grandstand shows. Because Dennis is aware and considerate of the horse shows he often does his jobs after the fair is closed and you can find him on the grounds until 3 a.m. Dennis is an active donator and inspires others to donate to the Langlade county fair. Also, at the fair Dennis is a long time buyer at the cake auction. He always looks for kids that may not have much family in the area or don’t seem to have bidders attending. Finally, Dennis sits on the showcase committee for the WI Association of Fairs and has attended the convention for over 15 years.
  • District 3: Nick Cable from the Lodi Agricultural Fair. Nick started out in 1982 working with softball and beer. He volunteered at the beer garden and running the Lodi Alumni Softball tournament. As he continued to get more involved Nick was elected and accepted to serve as the Fair Treasurer on the Executive board and has held that position since 2006. Nick is very involved with finances due to the fact that he is the treasurer, so sometimes he isn’t seen at the fair as he is working to account for all funds and make bank runs. However, that isn’t the only thing he does. He has become the “go to” person and played a huge role with 3 major building projects and purchasing 39 acres of adjoining land to the fair grounds. He worked with making survey maps of the fairs and creating the Emergency preparedness plan. Nick never side steps a challenge but puts on every hat handed to him. Nick can also be found year round talking to the community about the fair and ensuring they will have enough volunteers during the event. Finally, while Nick started with softball and beer, he has graduated to ducks. He’s been known as the MC for the live duck races at the fair. Nick does it all!
  • District 4: Scott Gunderson from the Racine County Fair. Scott has served with the fair for 21 years and can be seen on the fairgrounds all summer long. He has even taken up gardening at times to plant perennial gardens after a construction or remodeling project on the grounds. Even in the off season he can be found visiting the office once a week to answer vendor questions and keep everyone happy. During the fair he is on the grounds early in the morning and stays until late at night making sure all vendors and entertainers have what they need for the fair. Scott has selflessly served as president for 10 years, served on the State Fair Board and spends much time at other fairs when asked for advice. Because of Scott the Racine county fair now has a budget and is updated annually. Also, there is now a Craft Beer and Wine Garden on the fair grounds. The area is all enclosed and is perfect for entertainers if an alternate area is needed if weather is bad. Scott is a champion at the Racine County Fair.

Outstanding Fair Person Awards

The Outstanding Fair Person Award is awarded to a fair board or county fair committee member active 12 years or less. Recipients include:
  • District 2: Jake Loen of the Polk County Fair. Jake has served the Polk County Fair for over eight years, being a Board Member for the past two years. Jake is a member of the Quality Meats committee, and although he is one of the youngest members, he helps implement the rules and gives encouragement to all the youth showing animals. Recently, Jake and his family donated tractors, equipment and time to rework over 50 acres of parking lot that was infested with pocket gophers. Together they worked it over 4 times and seeded it. Now the parking lot is smooth and easier for fairgoers to maneuver. Jake furnishes the Polk county fair with a skid steer in the summer and spent a lot of time using it to move salvage lumber from the grandstand project. Jake does whatever tasks need to be done, and is booked every weekend May 1 st through October 1st.
  • District 3: Shae Fox, Monroe County Fair. Shae’s passion for the fair and involvement goes beyond her employment status. Not only does she perform her position completely, she helps all board members finalize their dealings with vendors, volunteers, employees, sponsors, contractors, exhibitors and media personnel. She deals directly with all Superintendents, Judges, the Extension office and city personnel. Not only does this individual do the work of six but she also gets her husband, two children, mother and multiple friends to donate time and talents for the fair. Shae joined the fair around 2006 as a part-time employee and has now moved to “Head of Operations.” Her duties have greatly expanded and it is safe to say she exceeds each and every duty on her job description.
  • District 4: Eileen Walsh Grzenia of the Walworth County Fair. Eileen is known in local fair circles as the “Pie Lady.” She designs and donates pies at all fair levels, most of the time as a donation to earn funds for the fair. Eileen is the Walworth County Fair Secretary, but also oversees the Horticulture Department that has bloomed successfully under her watchful eye. But, perhaps her greatest influence has been in the award-winning Barnyard Adventure Ag education program. Eileen can be found writing and obtaining grants to help fund the program’s growth. During the fair Eileen covers the 99 acres of the fair viewing, photographing, engaging and making people feel welcome. But even before the fair and on the off season Eileen is the social media administrator and maintains daily Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChapt, and Pinterest pages while keeping the website up to date. After the fair Eileen is writing IAFE reports, completing thank you notes, working on the scrapbook and attending all committee meetings. Her work is never finished.

V.I.P. Awards

The V.I.P. Award is presented to a non-fair board member or non-committee member with no specific length of service. This year’s winners include:
  • District 2: Jim Garaets from the Pierce County Fair. Jim has been active in the Pierce County Fair for 40 years; first as a 4-H member, then with his children in 4-H and currently with the livestock committee, swine superintendent, 4-H adult advisor and now part of the the newly formed Pierce County Friends of the Fair. Jim’s daughter describes Jim like this: “My dad is the kind of behind the scenes person that does things that nobody realizes he does.” But Jim might best be described as the gentle giant. He’s not loud, but he’s the guy that is in the background getting things done without wanting to be recognized. He was instrumental in getting new pens for the hogs, sheep and goat barn and securing cement for the barn. When they got the cement, he worked right alongside the grounds keeper and his crew to lay many yards of cement in just a few hours. Sometimes when new projects are being discussed and someone asks “How are we going to fund that?” Jim just responds, “I’ll work on that.” Magically the money comes through and Jim gets the projects done.
  • District 3: Dale & Jon Greeno from the Monroe County Fair. This father/son duo has been very active in the fair. Dale has been a superintendent since 2000 and Jon has been working with him, assisting the swine show every year. Dale and Jon work with many fair families to get the barns ready each year with a barn cleanup day the Saturday before fair week. During the fair the duo can be found at weigh in’s for hours donating their time to get the swine ready for proper showing classes. They are back after the fair to assure all the stalls are latched correctly. In the fall of 2017 a barn addition was started and Dale worked with many different contractors to get work bids. Dale and Jon worked with a local welder to fabricate new stalls for the new addition to give our exhibitors more room for their projects. Dale was also diligent in setting up work nights to install the new gates, build a loading area and to redesign the showing in the new addition. Dale and several fair families worked two months, twice a week late into the night to make the new facility – Fair Ready! Always remember a family that “Fairs” together, stays together!
  • District 4: Peggy Fraser of the Walworth County Fair. Peggy’s dedicated service to the fair began in 1999. Her duties require her to complete assignments with minimal supervision, while keeping everything running like a well-oiled machine. She is an active member of many committees, including Barnyard Adventure, Beautification, Fairest, Finance, Policy, Premium Book, Tickets, Vendor and Rental committees. Peggy is an integral and treasured member of the Fair family and is known to be the first in, last out at the office. Her labor of love is evidence and she handles her assignments with professionalism and finesse. When reflecting on Peggy’s seemingly endless attributes to the Fair, she’s truly treasured; a human Google, perceptive, supportive, smart, loyal and respected.

Volunteer Group Appreciation Award

The Volunteer Group Appreciation Award is presented to a true voluntary group that receives no monetary compensation for the volunteer service. This year’s winner is:
  • District 3: The Volunteer Group Appreciation Award is presented to the Lindina Busy Bees 4-H Club Leaders and Parents from the Elroy Fair. This is the oldest 4-H club in Juneau County and has been participating in the Elroy Fair for many generations. The club displays a generous amount of livestock and dairy. They are also great sponsors of the fair. They work before the fair to contact many businesses to participate in the livestock auction, benefitting all of the exhibitors. The club has stepped up to solicit additional sponsors to supply meats for the buyer’s hospitality lunch. The club is very active with shows including bringing a livestock clinic to the Elroy Fairgrounds for over 100 attendees. Congratulations to the Leaders and Parents of the Lindina Busy Bees 4-H club.

AWARD NOMINATIONS

Each year the Wisconsin Association of Fairs recognizes Fair Members that have gone above and beyond in the fair industry. Applications are due October 1 if mailed or October 15 if e-mailed to info@wifairs.com.

Please consider entering members from your fair the following categories:
  • V. I. P. Award: Awarded to an individual or couple (any two people) non-fair board member/non-committee member, no specific length of service required.
  • Outstanding Fair Person Award: Awarded to fair board/county fair committee member being active 12 years or less.
  • Hall of Fame Award: Awarded to fair board/county fair committee member based on 12 years or more of active service.
  • Volunteer Group Appreciation Award: Awarded to a true volunteer group that receives no monetary compensation for the volunteer service. Only one overall winner selected unlike the other categories where one per district is awarded.
Each individual selected will receive appropriate recognition at the annual convention.

Please use the Award Form below for your official entry.

ASSOCIATE OF THE YEAR NOMINIATIONS

This award recognizes a Wisconsin Association of Fairs (WAF) Associate member (business or individual) that has, and continues to contribute to the success of the Fair industry in Wisconsin. Please use the link below to nominate an Associate Member you feel is worthy of this special recognition. Completed forms are due by October 1 if mailed and October 15 if e-mailed. Submit to the Wisconsin Association of Fairs, 5320 County Road F, Merrill, WI 54452 or info@wifairs.com.

Please provide a supporting statement of 250 words or less, as to why the nominee should be selected as the recipient of the award. If selected, your statement may be used during the presentation of the award. You may use the remaining space on this application or on one additional page.

Guidelines:

  • Nominee may be living or deceased.
  • Nominee shall be a present or past Associate Member of WAF.
  • All Fair Members and Associate Members of WAF are encouraged to nominate an Associate member who has supported the WAF and the Wisconsin Fair Industry.
  • Nominations will be held over for a three (3) year period with the approval of the Fair/Associate that nominated them.
  • The WAF state board will review all nominations received to select the recipient(s).
  • An Award is not required to be given each year. The number of awards presented is at the discretion of the WAF state board.
  • Selection of the recipient will be announced at the WAF annual convention at the Opening Session on Monday morning.
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