Fair board members continue with improvements

It takes months to plan a fair. And it wouldn't be possible without members of the Marion County Fair Board.

A questionnaire was distributed to the 23 members on the board. The answers of those who returned their questionnaires can be found below:

Vida Bartel


Member for 12 years

Vida Bartel chooses to serve on the Marion County Fair Board for the community service and the need for a manager and office staff.

Some accomplishments while on the board include upgrades in buildings on the fairgrounds, the pavilion arena, and the cattle building upgrade.

Bartel's goals for the board include to grow in the future and recapture community support.

Kim Harms


Member for four years

Kim Harms has been a member of the fair board for the past four years. She said, "My father served on the Marion County Fair Board for over 30 years. I grew up watching his involvement, helping him with different duties, and being proud of his accomplishments. Naturally, I wanted to follow in his footsteps." Harms also feels it is important that her children grow up with the same opportunities.

Her accomplishments while on the board are slim. "I haven't served on the board for very long, so I am still getting my feet wet," she said. Harms said she is excited about the improvements being made on the fairgrounds and how much the board members put into providing the community with a professionally run county fair with first-class facilities.

A goal Harms has for the future of the fair board include attracting spectators. She said, "Summers are busier than ever and members of the public don't always make it a priority to join us at the fair. We continually strive to come up with new attractions to draw people to the fair. I hope to find ways to generate excitement and enthusiasm for the Marion County Fair and make it an event that no one wants to miss."

Tom Kimbrel


Member for eight years

Tom Kimbrel's decision to serve on the fair board started with his children. "My kids were in 4-H and I wanted to support 4-H," he said. Another part of his interest of serving on the board is that he was a farmer for 23 years and still has an interest in agriculture.

Accomplishments over Kimbrel's years on the board include improvements such as air conditioning in some buildings, adding bleachers, and upgrading buildings and facilities. "One person doesn't make accomplishments," he said.

For the future, Kimbrel hopes to keep attendance and interest in the fair up so that 4-H and other participants can showcase their projects, hobbies, animals, etc.

Chuck McLinden


Member for nine years

In the beginning, Chuck McLinden was elected to the board to help with the rodeo. That prospered into running the Women's Ranch Rodeo and now he acts as arena director for the Women's Ranch Rodeo. "As I gained experience, I became more involved in other aspects of the fair. Both of my kids are in 4-H. I feel it's important to make their county fair the best it can be."

Accomplishments for McLinden include serving as president of the board the past five years. "We have made several improvements to the grounds in the last few years — updating the electricity in the livestock barns, and having handicap accessible bathrooms in the foods building."

Future goals McLinden has include finding a carnival to count on and to make the fair the place to be.

JoAnn Knak


Member for 10 years

At the beginning of JoAnn Knak's term, she was asked by the fair manager at the time to become a part of the board. She figured "Why not?" since she always attended the arena events as an emergency medical provider.

Accomplishments made while Knak has been on the board include improving the cattle barn, building the pavilion, and finishing the inside of the foods building. "I hope I've helped with the decision making," she said.

Knak's future goals include making improvements to the arena area, making the grounds safer, and providing a good experience for the 4-H'ers and all other attendees of the fair.

Jamie Peters


Member for three years

Jamie Peters chose to serve on the fair board as a form of community service. "As a youth, I was a 4-H member for 11 years and an FFA member for four. My experience as a 4-Her was positive and rewarding. So, as an adult, I felt it was important for me to be involved with the county fair. I also serve as 4-H superintendent and it just seems right to be involved with the decision making of the event from which so many youth gain experience and growth."

Peters said she didn't join the fair board to make personal accomplishments, but to be a part of the whole in the decision making process to improve events and experiences for the community. "We have made many improvements to the fairgrounds with the help of businesses in the county and from many volunteer hours from fair board members," she said.

Future goals include for the fair board to continue to make improvements on the multipurpose/horse arena. "We need to update the equipment used to prepare the arena floor for events. And I would like to see more events held in the arena other than on fair week."

Mike Duerksen


Member for five years

Mike Duerksen's decision to serve on the fair board stemmed from past experiences. "I have enjoyed going to the fair all my life. It is something I have always looked forward to. When asked to serve on the board I thought it would be a good thing to do."

Accomplishments made during Duerksen's membership include improvements on the grounds, new bathrooms in the foods building, new inside walls in the foods building, new pig wash rack, new concrete in sheep and cattle barns, new fence on the east side of the fairgrounds, some new electric in barns, new tables and fans in the 4-H building, remodeled fair office and information office, and reworked rodeo pens and one section of new bleachers.

Goals Duerksen has for the future include repairing and maintaining buildings and grounds, reworking the rodeo arena, and getting more activities and some new events to get more people to come to the fair.

Kara Chisholm


Member for two years

Kara Chisholm decided to join the Marion County Fair Board two years ago because she thinks 4-H is an important activity for youth to be involved in. She said, "It teaches responsibility, cooperation, dedication, and many other life skills that are needed. I also realize that someone had to be on the board when I was in 4-H so now I feel like it's my turn and responsibility to continue to make the fair an important part of our community and county."

Accomplishments that Chisholm is excited about include those that have been done for this year. "We have outfitted the beef fitting area to make it safer and more useable for our kids. We've also put in a handicapped bathroom. We are also making changes in the swine area that will make it safer for kids and livestock."

Some goals Chisholm has for the future of the fair board include looking for ways to develop and promote activities that are going to draw a variety of people. "We want to make the fair an attraction that it once was for the whole county."

Chisholm encourages community involvement. "If anybody would like to be on the fair board, or has ideas that they feel would be good for the fair, please contact us. We do the best we can but are always open to new ideas."

Other members

People who also are on the fair board but did not respond are Glen Kliewer, Larry Heiser, Mark Meyer, Beth Riffel, Stephanie Richmond, Joe Alvarez, Debbie Geis, Bill Fish, Dean Suderman, Jim Wiens, Lloyd Anderson, Marty Dalke, Mike Ehrlich, James Muzyka, and Myron Regier.