DURAND — The Shiawassee County Agricultural Society announced its annual volunteer awards Saturday night while hosting a banquet for members.
“I love seeing the people come together,” Shiawassee County Fair Manager Ric Crawford said. “It’s like the fair. The fair is family, friends and fun. That’s what this meeting is all about. It’s the same attitude we present at the fair.”
The Society elected eight people to board positions for the coming year: Wally Brooks, Eric Cnudde, Don Luft, Bryan Marks, Dawn Reha, Jim Ritter, Frank Toma and Levi Voorhies.
“Twenty-four board members, four junior board members, 102 department superintendents, and endless volunteers,” livestock department superintendent Frank Corrin said. “That’s what it takes to put on a successful Shiawassee County Fair. This truly is a real community affair. I give a very big ‘thank you’ to those of you who give up a week every year. Some of you are year-round employees, especially the board members. Without you people supporting us, this would not happen.”
In addition to new board members, the Society announced its annual awards.
Gary Bulemore and his family won the Foundation Award for his work with the fair since 1988.
Bulemore has introduced numerous events to the fairgrounds, sold pizzas to help build a new horse barn and has been on the fair board since 1993. He’s been a full-time employee since 2003.
“It is a very great honor,” he said. “Along with being honored with the other foundation winners. My family really appreciates it, too. I love that these awards are improving the banquet. We used to have 20 or 30 people here, and now we have 220 or 230 here tonight. I just wish more people would get involved with the Shiawassee County Fair. I think it’s one of the best in the state, if not the very best in the state.”
Helen Dettore won the Volunteer of the Year award. She began by volunteering in the fair office in 2010. Since then she has taken part in many fundraisers, designed and handled the souvenir booth and is now the vendor coordinator.
“I’m honored to have won this award,” she said. “I won ‘Member of the Year’ a few years ago just for doing something that I love to do. I think our fair is one of the best in the lower half of Michigan. Everyone should come and see it.”
Many Society members received honors for years of service, including dog department leader Cheryl Barton, who topped the list at 40 years.
Charlene Thornton received a 10-year award for her service in the horticulture department.
“I’m really glad I got this award,” she said. “I love working with the fair. I love fair week and helping out anywhere I can. I get to meet a lot of new people in just one week, so it’s great.”
Cathy Baumgardner won a 30-year award as the superintendent of the canned goods.
“It doesn’t even seem like it’s been 30 years at all,” she said. “I can’t wait to fill it up with some food and tell everybody that I got it for all of my good years of volunteering. I hope to keep continuing on for 10 more years.”