The Friends of the Fair program was established by the Fair Board in March of 2014 as a way to recognize superior service by volunteers and others. According to the policy “a Friend of the Stephenson County Fair is an individual who makes a significant contribution to the fair, exceeding expectations and requirements for his/her position." This could be someone who is a former contributor.
The 2016 honorees represented many departments within the fair and were responsible for a variety of functions. The recipients include: Wayne Bronkema of Pearl City—a faithful volunteer and assistant superintendent in the horse pull department. Judy Cary of Freeport—long time exhibitor and superintendent for both the 4-H and open rabbit shows for seventeen years. Judy also assisted with the FFA rabbit department. Rick Garnhart of German Valley—Rick is best known around the fair for his skills as a master of ceremonies and announcer. Rick is also passionate about the junior livestock auction and has spearheaded that event for many years. He also donates his time as an auctioneer for the junior livestock auction and for the chainsaw carving event. Eldon Julius of Freeport—Eldon is always the “behind the scenes” guy, assisting his wife, Mary, in the Home Economics Department. He has also acted as a volunteer bookkeeper and payer of bills for the Fair Board. He is an experienced “storer of campers and boats,” roofer and anything else that he could do on the grounds. Dennis Manus of Freeport—Denny and his wife, Pam, have acted as Superintendent of Commercial for the past three years and performed duties as the assistant superintendent prior to that. Denny and Pam also coordinated events in the crops and grains department. Denny had been an active member of the Freeport Rural Fire Department and a trustee for the township of Silver Creek. Sadly, he passed on June 30, 2016, just prior to the opening of the fair. Ray and Jeri Nieman of Freeport—
Jeri and Ray have a long dedication to the fair beginning with their involvement with the establishment of the Beef Coral and as 4-H leaders. These positions expanded to Ray’s leadership of the Stephenson County and State Beef Associations and in later years as superintendents in the crop and grains department at the fair.
Nominations for Friends of the Fair are submitted annually to the Board at the regular April meeting for approval. Nominees can be, but not limited to, advisors, board members, superintendents, volunteers, employees, exhibitors etc. Anyone affiliated with the fair may submit a name for consideration.
Nomination forms are available from the fair office by contacting Amy Maggio, Executive Director, prior to the March meeting or by clicking the link below. Forms may be mailed or emailed to the Stephenson County Fair Association. Applications are evaluated by a three-member committee for consideration and forwarded to the Board for approval.
Pictured AboveD: BACK ROW FROM LEFT.... rAY NIEMAN, RICK GARNHART, ELDON jULIUS, WAYNE BRONKEMA FRONT ROW FROM LEFT.... JERI NIEMAN, PAM MANUS (REPRESENTING HER LATE husband, dennis), judy cary