Passion for working with families motivates new fair coordinator
By Correne Martin
Amanda Nagel has had a passion since she was young to be a part of the Crawford County Fair. She exhibited as a member of 4-H and the Girl Scouts as a young girl, and in recent years, she has held various supporting roles. Now, as the new Crawford County Fair coordinator, she is more than just a part of the fair; she actually works behind the scenes.
Nagel began her new position in January, just in time to start working on the 2013 Crawford County Fair, which is set for Aug. 7-11. She replaces Heather Moore as the part-time coordinator. The majority of her duties revolve around teaming up with the fair board to plan and host the activities that occur at the Gays Mills fairgrounds in August every year. However, she is also the first point of contact for scheduling other special events that happen on the grounds; she is a bookkeeper, record keeper, and promoter; and she is a liaison between the fair's three main committees: the Friends of the Fair, the Fair Association, and the Fairest of the Fair committee.
"I'm really here to serve," she said. "I have been a long-time exhibitor and supporter of the fair. I've seen the benefits the fair has to the families it serves and I'm very excited to be able to continue helping with that."
Nagel graduated from Prairie du Chien High School in 2001 and UW-Stout in 2006. She has Bachelor of Science in human development and family studies and is a certified family life educator. In addition to being the fair coordinator, she also currently works part-time as a parent educator in Prairie du Chien and La Crosse.
After graduating college, the Eastman resident became more enthusiastic about assisting behind the scenes of the fair. She worked as a 4-H program advisor from 2005 to 2011 for the Crawford County UW-Extension. In the fall of 2007, when the Fair Association was formed, she was appointed chairman. In that capacity as a volunteer, her duties were to expand and carry out new ideas and support fair activities, stimulating not only a profitable event but also the fair's family-friendly environment.
Through the years as a Crawford County resident, Nagel has also served as a 4-H project leader in the arts and as a Girl Scout leader in Eastman. She has been a member of these organizations for over 25 years.
Being connected to the families of the county and doing what she can to better their lives within the area's rural farming communities is exactly what makes Nagel feel at home in her new position.
So far in the seat, Nagel has been busy getting organized. One of her biggest endeavors thus far has been to find a nice new home for the Crawford County Fair Office. Previously, the office was housed full-time in the UW-Extension space of the Crawford County Administration Building in Prairie du Chien.
Now, when she isn't out and about taking care of business, Nagel will be available in Gays Mills in suite 114 of the Mercantile Center (120 Sunset Ridge). Office hours will be Wednesdays, from 1:30 to 6 p.m., or by appointment. She will remain available in PdC from time to time. At fair time, the office will temporarily move to the fairgrounds.
Nagel hopes a workspace based at the Gays Mills Mercantile Center will make information more accessible to all county fair-goers, since Gays Mills is more central to the county and because the fairgrounds are located in the community.
She is fast and furiously planning an Open House for the new office space in Gays Mills. The public is welcome to come check it out on Friday, March 22, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The highlight of the evening will be the crowning of the 2013 Crawford County Fairest of the Fair.
In addition, Nagel has been concentrating her attention on updating the annual fair booklet, which will be available in April. She is also working on the website (crawfordcountywisconsinfair.com), as well as confirming all of the fair's events for this year, especially the carnival, Thursday night's Hug a Hog contest, Friday night's music concert, Saturday night's demolition derby and Sunday's tractor pulls. Soon she will turn her attention to some of the fair's mini activities.
As she tends to her responsibilities, Nagel is continuously consulting with her fair board, which consists of Pete Flesch, Wade Dull, Ray Martin, Elling Jones and Dave Olson.
"I'm here to coordinate what the fair board wants. I bring ideas and we collaborate in making the ultimate decisions," Nagel explained. "It's the fair board's and the county's event and I'm just motivated to make sure the fair is as awesome as possible."
Nagel pointed out that the volunteers with the Friends of the Fair, the Fair Association, the Fairest of the Fair Committee and others are particularly key to the continued success of the Crawford County Fair. She said they exist to support the fair all year-round.
"I really appreciate all of the volunteers who have come forth and supported the fair in the past and in the future," she said.
Nagel encourages interested individuals to get involved where they can.
"We're always looking for volunteers," she said. "Whether people can give two hours a month or two hours a year, or whether they want to be on a committee or simply volunteer the week of the event, we welcome that."
She also noted that anybody of any age can show exhibits at the fair. "You don't have to be part of an organization, church or school group; you can enter in our open class," she said.
Contact Nagel at (608) 735-4379 to join the volunteer efforts, inquire about exhibits or other events, or for further information.