It’s volunteers who make the Moffat County Fair an annual success



“It’s a busy, busy time, and we could not do it without the faithful dedication of these many, many volunteers. Our hats off to you. You are our unsung heroes. We cannot thank you enough.”

— Carol Haskins, Moffat County Fair coordinator, about the volunteers who make the fair a success year after year

Completion Day 2011 for general 4-H projects is now a memory.

So are the 2011 Moffat County Fair events such as the livestock, dog, horse, and pavilion open class competitions. That goes for the Junior Livestock Sale and Carcass Contest, too.

All memories.

The county fair is over for another year.

It takes a lot of planning and leg work to put on a county fair, and it all happens because volunteers are there to help — lots of them — of every age and from every walk of life. Some have been with the fair for years and years, but they just keep coming back.

You’d think that the volunteers would take some time off after county fair.

Take this year, for example.

Next year’s fair is months and months away. But, the volunteers are already at it, planning the 2012 Moffat County Fair.

They’re evaluating this year’s fair. What went really well? What needs some improvement? What is the feedback from the community?

Each year it’s always about making the next fair the best ever. The volunteers are back.

Planning for the fair begins with the Fair Board, made up of about 16 members (all volunteers) who attend monthly meetings and serve on committees to make decisions about the annual event. They decide on everything from judging events to fair entertainment activities.

For the Fair Board members, it’s always fair time. And amazingly, despite all of the hard work, these volunteers always come back.

After months of planning, printing up the fair book, advertising, making all kinds of fair decisions, and a lot more, the end of July/beginning of August rolls around, and it’s time for the 4-H Completion Day part of the fair. That’s when 4-Hers exhibit their completed general category projects. And, it’s time for more volunteers to help out. They check in the projects, help the 4-H members by answering questions, assist the judges, keep books, put ribbons on the projects, and arrange exhibits. They serve as “watchdogs” during hours the exhibit area is open to the public and set up cookie and lemonade refreshments.

These volunteers come back year after year.

After this, the Moffat County Fair week arrives and, with it, volunteers who set up the judging areas and make sure the vendors and entertainment folks are settled in. And then there are the superintendents who check in exhibits, from pavilion entries to animals. They answer questions, help kids get their animals into the show ring, assist the judges, settle disputes, keep books as to ribbon placings, and a whole lot more.

Year after year, these volunteers just keep coming back.

“In the pavilion for open class check-in and judging alone, there are at last 50 superintendents, a dozen division coordinators, plus check-in, hospitality, and other helpers who work both Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday,” said Carol Haskins, Moffat County Fair coordinator. “This adds up to over 900 volunteer man hours for that one event alone.”

And again, the volunteers just keep coming back.

Then, consider some of the other jobs that require volunteers. There are announcers and bookkeepers.

People help with the Bingo games, Senior Dinner, special Saturday activities, the barbecue, and Round Robin. During the Junior Livestock Sale, volunteers serve as bankers, announcers, narrators, ring men, auctioneers, board men, gate people, photo staff, runners, and more. Unbelievable as it may seem, these volunteers just keep coming back.

Haskins said that the Moffat County Fair is one of the year’s biggest events for the community.

“It’s a busy, busy time, and we could not do it without the faithful dedication of these many, many volunteers,” she said. “Our hats off to you. You are our unsung heroes. We cannot thank you enough.”

Haskins describes the many fair volunteers as “the brave and dedicated.”

That’s because they just keep coming back.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2011.

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