Stephenson County, Illinois — With only a few weeks remaining on the 2017 calendar, we’re starting to focus on what’s shaping up to be a busy 2018, and I want to let everyone know of some important date changes for some key summer events. The Stephenson County Fair board has been diligently working for several months to shore up plans for the 2018 fair, specifically in terms of securing a quality carnival on dates that will cooperate as much as possible with the many other moving parts of the fair such as tractor pull, grandstand entertainment, livestock shows and more. We’ve finally pulled those pieces together, but for the coming year it has required moving the fair dates ahead to June 27-July 1. The fair will start on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. with the carnival opening later in the afternoon, and Wednesday will be Youth & Family Night with the Bulls & Barrels Show back in the grandstand. Thursday and Friday will be tractor pulls with the Lucas Oil pulls each night, and Saturday night will feature country music with the demolition derby wrapping things up on Sunday. The board realized that trying to hold the fair during the week of July 4 would have been a guaranteed disaster, so this was the next best option to mesh with multiple schedules.
Regarding some of the regular events that week, the Junior Livestock Auction will take place on Saturday morning June 30 at 9:00 a.m. in the Swine Show Ring, and we’ll hold our Kiddie Pedal Pull on Sunday afternoon in the same location with registration at 12:30 p.m. and the pull at 1:00 p.m. We’re hoping to hold the Youth Ag Olympics on Wednesday evening just before the Bulls & Barrels, with the Chicken Scramble woven into the evening’s program as well. Much more information will be forthcoming in the weeks and months ahead as plans are finalized, and we thank everyone for your understanding and cooperation as we strive to put on the best fair that we possibly can.
With the fair date change, we are also shuffling the dates of some other summer activities. Because of on-grounds preparations for the fair, the Stephenson County Ag Breakfast will move ahead one week to Saturday June 16, and our “Then and Now Tractor Caravan” will now take place on Saturday July 14. The Dairy Days Parade will stay on Sunday June 24 as originally scheduled.
Farewell and best wishes, Lori!
Lori Tessendorf, Program Coordinator for 4-H and Youth Development for the University of Illinois Extension – Stephenson County, has accepted a position with 4-H in Arizona and will be leaving her position here as of December 22. Lori has been with Stephenson County 4-H for 10 years and will be greatly missed, but we’re happy for her and excited about her new adventure in the Southwest. Those who have known and worked with Lori are invited to an open house from 4-7 p.m. on December 19 at the Extension office on the Highland College campus. Feel free to bring along your favorite Lori-related memory or story to share, because as we all know Lori loves a good laugh! Cards are also welcome but please no gifts. Best wishes Lori, and thanks for your great efforts with our local 4-H programs!
A tragic loss
The news of the natural gas explosion on a Lee County farm on December 5 that claimed the lives of a father and son had some personal and local connections. 30-year-old Ryan Miller, who left behind his wife Jill and two young daughters, was the son-in-law of Jon and Joyce Scholl of Cooksville in McLean County. Jon is a former Illinois Farm Bureau staff member and current professor at the University of Illinois, and Joyce is the daughter of Delbert and the late Hulone Scheider and sister of Tom (Mary) Scheider of rural Freeport. Ryan and his 59-year-old father Rory were installing tile on their farm when the equipment became stuck, and their efforts to pull out the equipment caused the line to rupture into a fatal fireball that could be seen and heard for miles. Anyone involved in agriculture recognizes the risks associated with our business, but accidents like this that leave young widows to grieve and little girls to grow up without their loving daddy are especially hard to accept. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who mourn the loss of these men.
Save the date for Candidates Forum!
We’re pleased to again be partnering with the League of Women Voters to host a Candidates Forum on Wednesday February 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Freeport Public Library (please note the location change from previous years). The forum will feature candidates for various local primary elections, including the race for the 89th District State Representative seat between Stephenson County Board member and SCFB president Steve Fricke and Freeport city councilman Andrew Chesney. Mark this date on your calendar and plan to attend this important event!
Program Planning Night
All SCFB members are invited to participate in our annual Program Planning Session on Thursday January 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Farm Bureau. Pizza and beverages will be provided, and we welcome your input as our board of directors will lead the discussion of ideas for programs and activities for the coming year. 2018 is our centennial year and we plan to hold some special events this year, so please share a few hours of your time to help us shape programming that is impactful and beneficial. Please call the FB office at (815) 232-3186 if you plan to attend so we can plan accordingly.
Bruce Johnson is the manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau