Organizing Delaware State Fair is a team effort

Founded on the ideals of promoting the “betterment of the inhabitants of rural communities” and the “development of a higher degree of efficiency in these occupations (agriculture and horticulture),” the iconic Delaware State Fair has, over the course of 100 years, matured into a traditional and time-honored event.

In celebration of the Delaware State Fair’s centennial anniversary, we take a look behind the scenes and into the staff and community members necessary to make such an eventful week possible.

As a first-year intern for the Delaware State Fair, I have had the pleasure of working with these truly amazing and dedicated staff members. During the past several months I witnessed the sense of community that drives this team. Not only do these people value the concept of community in their work, but also in their everyday lives.

The Delaware State Fair staff members have created a community of their own in the office that reflects such values in the work they do with local businesses and organizations.

In keeping with the Non-profit title, the Delaware State Fair team largely prioritizes supporting the community by hosting donations, give-backs and community building events. At its core, the community is supported and maintained by people like those employed by the Delaware State Fair, because without the bringing together of local businesses and organizations, our community would lack the strong foundation that defines Delaware.

In keeping with this emphasis on community, the staff of the Delaware State Fair works in conjunction with a variety of local businesses and organizations to strengthen our local industries. In the words of Mrs. Robin Rockemann, our Rentals and Concessions Manager, “For 10 days every July, approximately 300,000 people come to Harrington. They eat, they shop, they are entertained, all of this equates to dollars spent in the local economy. All the purveyors on the grounds that supply the concessions are local, so it benefits their businesses and the local economy.”

Beyond local industries, the Delaware State Fair looks to support individual community members in need. Annually, Food Lion hosts a “Hunger Relief Day” during Fair week in which gate admission is accepted in the form of five or more Food Lion branded non-perishable food items. We encourage all Fair attendees to participate this year on Monday, July 22!

Mrs. Trish Dunlap, Marketing Assistant, takes the lead on many of these efforts. She is always eager to incorporate donations and “give-backs” into our events, not for any personal gain other than putting a smile on many faces.

Leah Gaynor is a first-year intern at the Delaware State Fair.

Additionally, the progressive nature of the Delaware State Fair staff and mission has highlighted the need to ensure prosperity in the future as well. To do so, the Delaware State Fair has partnered with Corteva Agriscience to present the Centennial Celebration! In alignment with the mission of Corteva Agriscience, the Delaware State Fair hopes to support and educate future generations of agricultural industry participants.

Overall, the Delaware State Fair staff holds value in stewardship, and strives to support like-minded people and organizations in doing so.

Within the confines of the fairgrounds, the Delaware State Fair staff have developed their own sense of community, one they aim to emulate in the local area.

A testament to these bonds, Mrs. Robin Rockemann noted that one thing she will take away from this job is, “Friendships and relationships. The staff and directors are an amazing group and it takes the entire team to put the Fair on.” Together they strive to support these values throughout the state because they understand that the impact of such bonds can be monumental on well-being of both the economy and individuals.

Box Office Manager and Centre Ice Arena Manager, Mrs. Tiffany Beachy, said, “I have truly enjoyed engaging with our customer base through public skates, our learn to play/skate programs and birthday parties. I am striving to strengthen the bond between the Centre Ice Arena, in its entirety, and the local public and create a strong family atmosphere at all times through the year.”

This outreach into the community is an unceasing effort from the Delaware State Fair staff, not bound to simply 10 days in July.

“People tend to think that because we work at the ‘Fair’ that it means that we only work 10 days. It takes a lot of work to put together this event and also the many events we do OUTSIDE of the actual Fair. We are always on the move and looking to provide new, exciting events!”, according to Administrative Assistant, Rebekkah Conley.

The combined efforts of the Delaware State Fair team allow for community building and support throughout Delaware year-round.

Exemplified by the joining of the Kent and Sussex county fairs years ago to create the Delaware State Fair, we are one state-wide community. As a non-profit, the Fair is truly and solely focused on building this community. The Delaware State Fair staff and local business come together in an effort to create and maintain the social and economic bonds that keep Delaware growing.

As a newcomer in the social dynamic of the offices, it is clearly evident to me that all staff members share common quality of a unique appreciation for their community that excites and inspires. I have seen firsthand the excitement that builds over the months leading up to fair time. Employees are genuinely excited to be welcoming their friends and fans into their place of work for a week of celebration of agricultural, horticultural, and Delaware communities.

Mrs. Rebekkah Conley said, “My favorite time here is during the Fair. I love to see people’s happy faces as they bring their families and loved ones to continue the tradition they’ve had their whole life.” While the Delaware State Fair team puts forth their best efforts in the local community, it is this reciprocated support from Delaware residents that allows for the continuation of such work.

In the words of Mrs. Robin Rockemann, “The Delaware State Fair is 100 years old, that is quite an accomplishment and wouldn’t be possible without our great community working together since 1919.”

When looking behind the scenes of the Delaware State Fair, pull back the curtain to reveal a tight-knit community of highly motivated co-workers, unified by a common desire to grow and support the Delaware communities.

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