SPENCER - As county fairs go, the Clay County Fair holds its own, having received six awards during the 122nd International Association of Fairs and Expositions Convention earlier this month.
Jeremy Parsons, CCF's secretary manager, said the awards speak for themselves in terms of the quality of the popular nine-day event held each year in September.
"Since the 1920s, the Clay County Fair has been billed as the World's Greatest County Fair, and these awards show that we can believe it," he said, adding that they competed and placed against other state fairs.
-Messenger photo by Karen Schwaller
Jeremy Parsons, secretary manager of the Clay County Fair, is shown looking over promotional material. The fair won six awards during the 112nd International Association of Fairs and Expositions Convention.
"They are validation of it," he said.
He added that those who decide on these awards also lend a dollop of credibility to what the awards mean.
"(The contest items) are judged by industry peers, so it means that people from other fairs get together and decide," Parsons said. "It speaks highly of the Clay County Fair and all we do here."
The fair received several second place awards, placing behind state fairs around the Midwest.
The contest allows member fairs to enter competitions in various categories, such as competitive exhibits, agricultural education, sponsorships and communications.
Member fairs are split into five categories based on attendance. CCF competes in Division 3, which is limited to fairs from across the globe with an annual attendance of 250,000 to 500,000. The fair claimed the following awards:
Second place in "Competitive Exhibit Photo Series," for a series taken by fair photographer Judy Hemphill, featuring the popular $1,000 Cinnamon Roll Contest. It finished behind an entry from the North Dakota State Fair.
Second place in "Agricultural Photo Series," for a series of photos taken by Hemphill featuring the 4-H dairy goat show. It finished behind an entry from the Kansas State Fair.
Second place in "Brochure/Flyer Series," for the fair's entry of the new daily pocket guides. The CCF's entry finished just behind an entry from the Missouri State Fair.
Second place for "Radio Ads," which finished behind an entry from the North Dakota State Fair.
Third place for "Competitive Exhibit Display Photo," for a photo taken by CCF Marketing Director Rebecca Peters. The photo featured the display of corn cobs on the shelves in the fair's Ag Building.
Third place in the "Poster" category for the fair's entry of the "Discover the Greatest" official poster, which finished behind entries from the North Dakota State Fair and the Kansas State Fair.
Parsons, who currently serves as vice chair of the IAFE Young Professionals Initiative steering committee, also received recognition as a McKoy Scholarship recipient. McKoy Scholarships, named after Texas State Fair CEO Errol McKoy, are given to students enrolled in the IAFE Institute of Fair Management.
Parsons started in the fair industry when he was 16 years old, spending 12 summers at the Iowa State Fair, followed by three summers at the Missouri State Fair, and then working full time for the Missouri State Fair as a member of its fundraising foundation. This was Parsons' first year as secretary manager of the CCF in Spencer.
Parsons said he is proud of the entries they submitted in the IAFE contest, adding that they enter these competitions each year. They will continue to do so under his leadership, he said.