The Hillsdale County Fair Board of Directors recently named lifelong resident Lori Hull its new fair manager.
Hull, who grew up on a local dairy farm, received an Agricultural Communications degree from Michigan State University in 1988 and became involved with the fair after her children started doing 4H, a program in which youth complete hands-on projects in the fields of health, science, agriculture, and citizenship. She represented Adams Township on the Hillsdale County Fairboard for 10 years, then served as the office manager before being elected fair manager.
Tom Richards, president of the Hillsdale County Fair Board, said Hull was the only applicant interviewed for the position. Hull has already begun work on the budget for next year’s festivities. She has also signed contracts with vendors.
“Everybody on the board knew and liked her,” Richards said. “As president, I have been working with her closely, and she is doing an outstanding job.”
According to Hull, the most important part of the fair is preserving the agricultural tradition of the community. She stated that she finds agricultural education important, as each new generation becomes less and less aware of where their food comes from. Her most important role, however, is maintaining the long-standing, small town community traditions.
One of Hull’s biggest challenges as manager is maintaining the fairgrounds. She said she is thankful for the volunteers who have helped her, giving the fair their time and hard work, during fair week and throughout the year.
“Maintenance is an ongoing process, but getting the funding to do all of those things is a huge challenge,” Hull said. “Keeping the character of the fairgrounds is a big challenge, and none of it is cheap.”
Hull said that she would like to increase the fairground’s off-season usage, including hall and campsite rentals. The profit made from this helps provide funds for upkeeping.
According to Richards, former fairgrounds manager Mark Williams resigned after September’s fair for personal reasons. He compared Hull to Scott Dow, who served as manager for 18 years. Like Dow, Richard said, Hull has a passion for the community and for the fairgrounds.
“Lori brings a lot to the table,” Richards said. “She fair-minded and really important to us.”