New county fair board takes the reins
There's a new fair board overseeing operations for the Columbia County Fair and Rodeo, including new president Ingrid Chamberlain, the only fair board member to remain from previous
Chamberlain served a full three-year term for the board in the past and had been elected to another term but had to resign to deal with a family illness. When she was ready to return, the Columbia County commissioners welcomed her back with an appointment and swearing-in.
She said after several board members retired or stepped down, "it turned out that I was the only existing previous fair board member."
Chamberlain said there was a tremendous response to join the board. She and other designated members were able to have full attendance during the board's first meeting this year.
Jamie Carr was elected vice president; Joshua Sarver as treasurer; Rachel Kroon as secretary; and Julie Pelletier as vendor coordinator. They join new board members Katie Marsh and Samantha Rosenlund.
Sarver also serves as the assistant maintenance and grounds supervisor, while Rosenlund currently handles sponsorships and Kroon deals with open-class animals. Chamberlain said the board members all help each other with their obligations, however.
"Jamie has a tremendous amount of experience with 4H and conducting meetings. We're working really well together," Chamberlain said. "Right now, we're trying to secure various talent for the fair, which is partly what I'm responsible for."
Chamberlain said the board is currently fielding proposals on options to streamline some fair operations, like online ticket sales and making it easier for vendors and sponsors to communicate on a more automated basis.
The board is also in a brainstorming phase, Chamberlain added, and board members intend to revisit some previously proposed ideas to see if they're a good fit.
"Past members have passed down a lot of information to the new board and we're doing our own research," Chamberlain said.
Currently, Columbia County Commissioner Henry Heimuller, a former fair board member himself, acts as the primary liaison between the fair board and the county commission. Chamberlain said many of the new members are learning how to navigate the ins and outs of conducting official meetings, and Heimuller has helped keep them on track.
Both Commissioners Alex Tardif and Margaret Magruder have also been "very supportive," she said.
"We're excited for the fair this year and we're hoping we can make it better than ever," Chamberlain said. "We're hoping things come together — and I'm sure they will — to make it as fun for the kids and the adults, as it has been in the past."
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