After 22 years, fair leader still volunteers after 22 years

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, June 20, 2017

When Melissa Clark started volunteering at the Clark County Fair, she was FFA president at George Rogers Clark High School. Twenty-two years later, she’s still on the fair board. The difference is she is president of the board, a post she has held for about a decade.

For the Clark County native, her involvement seems natural.

“I grew up on a farm,” she said. “We raised pigs. When I got to high school, I joined FFA.”

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By her senior year, she was elected FFA president and was asked to help with the fair.

“Back then, (FFA) took vegetable entries for students, potted tobacco, plants, hay bales” for contest entries,” she said. “As the years have gone, they help with fair games and sell drinks and food.”

After her first involvement with the fair board, she stayed involved with the fair, at the other board members’ request.

“They asked me to stick around so I’ve been here ever since,” she said. “When I started, I was just on the board and helped out here and there.”

Eventually, she rose through the ranks from board member to secretary, vice president and eventually president about 10 years ago.

“Once (fair) week starts, its not bad,” she said. “It’s the week or two prior when the phone starts ringing with questions. During the week, it’s making sure everything’s taken care of and (people) are in place to do what they’re supposed to.”

Organizing and planning for the fair takes much of the year, though preparations begin in earnest in January. The biggest challenge, she said, is trying to keep the fair fresh and interesting.

“We’ve added different events,” she said. “It’s hard to do because there are only so many things you do at a county fair. It seems like every year it gets more expensive.

“Everything we make at the fair this year goes to pay for this year and start for next year. We do have sponsors that help.”

The best part, she said, is hearing people get excited about the fair.

“I guess (it’s) knowing the community enjoys the county fair,” she said. “I like to hear they enjoy it. If we didn’t do it, would they miss us?”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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