Achenbach named county’s Fairest

2014 Crawford County Fairest of the Fair Sarah Achenbach (right), of Eastman, was crowned by outgoing Fairest, and the new State Fairest of the Fair Kaitlyn Riley, at the Fairest of the Fair Gala Jan. 24. The royalty posed for plenty of pictures throughout the evening, which welcomed about 60 people to the Eastman United Methodist Church Friendship Hall. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Runner-up and Crawford County Fairest of the Fair Attendant Mikaela Baker (right), of Eastman, was also crowned by State Fairest Kaitlyn Riley.

2013 Crawford County Fairest of the Fair and 2014 Wisconsin State Fairest of the Fair Kaitlyn Riley, of Mt. Zion

Future Fairest of the Fair Marie Achenbach

Future Fairest of the Fairs Marie Achenbach is pictured with WIsconsin State Fairest of the Fairs Kaitlyn Riley.

Crawford County Fair Coordinator Amanda Nagel presented State Fairest of the Fair Kaitlyn Riley with a special plaque in recognition of the duties she carried out last year as Crawford County’s Fairest.

Wisconsin Fairs Coordinator Bob Williams spoke about how to improve attendance and involvement at county fairs.

Fairest winner Sarah Achenbach presents the crowd the dessert she had up for auction during the Gala.

The dessert auction featured a variety of cakes, pies and other goodies, even some made by the Fairest royalty themselves.

Steuben River Runners 4-H Club members served the spaghetti dinner to guests at the Fairest of the Fair Gala Jan. 24. Some of the youth are pictured packing away a roaster of green beans. They are (from left) Jessica Bedtka, Lily Mitchell, Grace Zinkle and Michael Zinkle.

By Correne Martin

Sarah Achenbach, of rural Eastman, was named the 2014 Crawford County Fairest of the Fair in a room full of about 60 fair board members, fair association members, superintendents, sponsors, family and friends at the Eastman United Methodist Church Friendship Hall Friday night, Jan. 24. The crowning of the UW-La Crosse sophomore and daughter of Lonnie and Jane Achenbach was the highlight of the Fairest of the Fair Gala.

“I want to help promote the fair to bring in greater crowds to show how great the community of Crawford County really is,” Achenbach stated in her acceptance speech. “Additionally, I would like to show youth how much the fair community can have a positive impact on their lives using Marie, Mikaela, Kaitlyn, and myself as prime examples. I’m so glad I got the chance to run against a fair-goer (Baker) as enthusiastic as I am.”

Achenbach succeeds 2013 Fairest Kaitlyn Riley, who was recently awarded the role of 2014 Wisconsin State Fairest of the Fair.

“I would like to give a special thanks to Kaitlyn for being a role model, not only to the community, but especially to me,” Achenbach added.

Mikaela Baker, a 2013 high school graduate and daughter of Gerald and Dawn Baker, also of Eastman, was honored with the title of 2014 Crawford County Fairest of the Fair Attendant. She and Achenbach will team up as ambassadors for the county fair this year.

“The fair has been a huge part of my life. I would like to encourage all of our previous, current and future generations to keep attending the fair,” Baker said in her concession speech. “Whether it’s just stopping in to see exhibits, shows or just going on rides, it’s important to keep everyone coming to enjoy our fair. We have so many wonderful people putting their time and efforts into making our fair a wonderful experience, even though they aren’t told ‘thank you’ as much as they should be.”

Also taking home a crown last Friday night was 8-year-old Marie Achenbach, Sarah’s younger sister. Marie has been designated the 2014 Future Fairest of the Fair and will accompany her older counterparts at parades, the dairy breakfast and other promotional activities this summer.

Judges for the Fairest contest were County Board Chair Pete Flesch, Former Fairest of the Fair Elizabeth Brownlee and three others associated with the fair: Michele O’Brien, Sandy Jeffers and Stephanie Mezera.
According to Crawford County Fair Coordinator Amanda Nagel, the county’s Fairest of the Fair program is about six years old. Typically, a few applicants apply each year for the esteemed position, which also adorns the winner with the title, crown and sash. Runners up always assist the Fairest as members of her court.

In describing her motivation for promoting the fair, which is obviously very near and dear to her heart, Achenbach said, “Crawford County Fair is like the little town of Eastman, ‘A little fair with a big heart,’ which is why it’s so important to the community. Our county fair is an affordable family-friendly event that provides education and entertainment to the citizens of the Crawford County area. The fair brings the community together by serving as a showcase for the talents of youth by providing a means of education, exhibit, and competition. The county fair also highlights the heritage of the community, while also tying together the agriculture, industry, and businesses that are the backbone of the community.”

In addition to the announcement of royalty at the gala last Friday, the Steuben River Runners 4-H Club provided a spaghetti dinner, Vilas Craig performed oldies music, Adams Auction Service led a dessert auction and Wisconsin Fairs Coordinator Bob Williams gave the keynote speech.

Williams complimented the Crawford County Fair on its successes. However, his focus—dealt with a little humor—was about how to hold the interest of fair-goers, volunteers and exhibitors, which would increase state aid for county fairs. He spoke about making exhibits more eye-appealing; providing main stage entertainment as well as fun and educational activities for all ages at a low cost; making good use of the Fairest of the Fair, 4-H and FFA programs; and trying to involve state legislators to the fair’s advantage.

State Fairest Kaitlyn Riley was a high point of the night as well. She displayed a slideshow of pictures portraying her experiences over the past year as Crawford County Fairest.

“I’m really proud of these ladies for being here,” Riley said of the two Achenbachs and Baker. “I look forward to seeing them develop as individuals.”

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