There will be an election for a state fair director in region 4 this year. Current director and vice-president of the Indiana State Fair Board, Stan Poe, Bargersville, is up for re-election. Ted McKinney, state executive director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, says conducting the election is one of the responsibilities of ISDA.
Who can vote? Ag groups within the area that the director represents have one vote each. For example, the soil and water conservation district can cast one ballot, or the county Farm Bureau, or any other group related to ag in any of the counties in the region, can cast one ballot. Contact ISDA for details.
The bigger question should be, is it important to take time to vote for a state fair director? Does it matter who is on the Indiana State Fair Board? Is it worth it to understand what role it plays in the fair?
After all, militants are beheading people, so far primarily on the far side of the world. People are shooting each other in big cities every day. The southern U.S. border has been reduced to little more than a name for the point where Mexico and the U.S. meet. Gangs run rampant, illegal drugs are widely available and some states have legalized the sale of marijuana. An Indianapolis police officer was gunned down not that far from the state fairgrounds earlier this year.
So is the state fair board really important?
If you're a Hoosier proud of your agricultural heritage, the answer should still be: yes, absolutely! There might be less of some of the afore-mentioned activities going on if Americans still maintained and practiced the culture and traditions that rural America, and certainly rural Indiana, held sacred for so many years.
You can't hop on a plane and go stop someone from entering the country on the southern border. You can't safely stand on a street corner in Indianapolis and prevent someone from selling drugs. But you can let legislators and others know that you want to preserve, promote and protect the values that Indiana was founded on. And you want others no longer involved in agriculture to know about those values, including a sense of fair play, a work ethic that got the job done and Hosier ingenuity. Those are some of the attributes held by state fair directors.
Rumors circulated before, during and after the state fair that a serious effort was underway to change how the state fair board operates, and to reduce its responsibilities. Andre Lacy, chairman of the Indiana State Fair Commission, the group in charge of the fairgrounds when the Fair isn't underway and responsible for its upkeep, assured us one-on-one in no uncertain terms that eliminating the fair board "couldn't be further from the truth."
We hope he meant what he said. In a world that seems like it's falling apart, Hoosiers need values to hold onto and a sense of order.
It may be in a small way, but the Indiana State Fair Board and working directors during the state fair is a tradition that will help ensure that the state fair remains true to its agricultural, 4-H and FFA roots. It will ensure that it remains a source of pride and honest, ethical values for Hoosiers for years to come, both young and old alike.