Kandiyohi County Fair honors two seniors for community service
WILLMAR — On the second day of the Kandiyohi County Fair, crowds were out in full force in the sweltering August heat.
In the cool shade of a tent just across from the Heritage Square Stage, fair visitors listened to Erv George as he finished his rendition of "New York, New York," by Frank Sinatra, ending his performance just before the senior award ceremony.
Kicking off at 2 p.m., the award ceremony represented the day's theme — Senior Day — and recognized numerous members of the community who have dedicated themselves to the community and local agriculture, tenets of the Kandiyohi County Fair.
Denny Baker and Gwen Krebsbach, members of the Kandiyohi County Fair board of directors, announced the senior awards to a full crowd.
The 2018 Kandiyohi County Outstanding Senior Woman is Wilma Boonstra of Raymond.
"In her 30 years as a volunteer with Rice Hospice, (Boonstra) has befriended 170 patients and charted more than 450 hours of visitation time," Krebsbach said. "More importantly, she meets one-on-one with patients who are venturing through their final journey with illness and offers friendship and assistance."
Boonstra also assists with the Red Cross Bloodmobile, dedicates time to supporting the Raymond Legion Auxiliary, and teaches Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at Raymond Christian Reformed Church.
The 2018 Kandiyohi County Outstanding Senior Man is Ronald Ulferts, also hailing from Raymond. A member of the Raymond Economic Development Authority board and the American Legion in Raymond, Ulferts dedicates his time to looking for opportunities for community growth in Raymond.
"(Ulferts) has volunteered countless hours to enhance and enrich the lives of his fellow citizens of Raymond. ... This man looks for reliable solutions to community improvements with financially responsible means," Krebsbach said.
One notable project that benefited from Ulferts' efforts was the assisted living facility in Raymond. He contributed to the project in a number of ways, contributing background research and making sure that the project was financially sound throughout the life of the project.
Four new lifetime membership awards were announced, giving recipients free admission to all Kandiyohi County Fairs in the future as a reward for their dedication to the fair over the years.
Sue Ahrenholz, Mike Witt, John Magel, and Butch Haug and Paul Haug were the awardees. Ahrenholz and Witt both served the Kandiyohi County Fair Board as treasurer, with Witt taking over Ahrenholz's position after she was injured in a motorcycle accident. Magel has been a partner of the County Fair for years, bringing entertainment to the fair for the past 34 years. The Haug father-and-son duo have been ardent supporters and participants in the fair, with Butch Haug in his 46th year of backing the community event.
Magel, owner of Magel Carnival Midways from Pine City, and the only recipient from outside of the area, made sure to express his appreciation for the Kandiyohi County Fair, saying "This is the most beautiful fairgrounds in the state, and my favorite. Always has been, always will be."
Four "Century Farms" were also acknowledged during the program, given awards for their endurance and commitment to farming in the county. Larry and Debra Anderson, Jerome Hagen, Robert and Phyllis Williams, and James Lohn all climbed the stage steps to be recognized for their long-lasting family farms.
On the opposite side of the fairgrounds, FFA swine judging had begun. Participants maneuvered their animals through the judging area, tapping lightly on the sides of their swine to direct them. Tractors drove through the fairground to line up for the tractor parade, also featuring draft horses, as the second day of events at the Kandiyohi County Fair was well underway. Goat judging, a free sweet corn feed and various other musical entertainment was on tap for the rest of the evening. KRA stock car racing was Thursday's grandstand event.
The fair continues through Saturday, and the fair schedule and additional information can be found at kandifair.com.