Local Fair Board Volunteers Receive State Recognition


Five Saline Community Fair board volunteers received state recognition at the 2022 Michigan Association of Fairs and Expositions (MAFE) annual convention held in January in Grand Rapids. Susan Heusel received a 2021 Heritage Award and Kevin Ernst received a 2020 Heritage Award. Hailey Malinczak was selected as one of three Honorable Mention Youth Volunteers of the Year for 2021, Donna Jedele was recognized as the Zone Two 2020 Volunteer of the Year, and Lee Blumenauer was recognized as the 2020 Youth Volunteer of the Year for all fairs across the state. Lee was also one of seven college students from across Michigan to receive a 2022 $1,000 scholarship from MAFE.

Volunteers have always been the backbone of Michigan fairs and festivals and the Heritage Award recognizes those individuals who have had a significant influence for their fair and have offered more than a decade of service to their community. Susan Heusel (left in photo) has served on the Saline Community Fair Board since 1994. She held the positions of Assistant Financial Secretary for six years, Treasurer for 19 years and Assistant Treasurer for three years. Sue’s dedication to the fair has helped the fair to be successful. Kevin Ernst was recognized as a 2020 Heritage Award recipient. Kevin spent his life growing up around the Saline Community Fair. Shortly after graduating from high school Kevin joined the Fair Board in 1988. He has been involved in every aspect of the fair and chaired various committees, as well as served as vice president and then president from 2003 through 2020. Kevin worked to strengthen partnerships throughout the community to secure on-going support for the Saline Community Fair and he helps with projects and activities whenever he can.

Volunteers are also the lifeblood of fairs and the Volunteer of the Year award recognizes a volunteer’s overwhelming commitment in a single year. Hailey Malinczak was recognized with the 2021 Honorable Mention Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. Hailey volunteered to coordinate the first Saline Dog of the Year Contest for the Saline Community Fair. She took the idea and ran with it, making it a very successful program which created a lot of interest from community members. Hailey was also selected as an Ambassador for 2020-22 and participated in many fair board and fair activities. Lee Blumenauer was named the overall Youth Volunteer of the Year for 2020 in recognition of his involvement and leadership in the new Washtenaw County Livestock Showcase. Lee was the only youth involved in this committee. In addition, he served as a 2019-2020 Saline Community Fair Ambassador and attended many fair board meetings and provided input for the fair. Donna Jedele (right in photo) was recognized as the 2020 Zone Two Volunteer of the Year for her work in planning a virtual auction for the Junior Livestock exhibitors since a fair could not be held in 2020 due to Covid restrictions. Donna managed the collection of information from the Saline Junior Livestock members as well as collected the money from the buyers and then paid out the youth. Due to Donna’s coordination and support of many buyers, the youth exhibitors had a very successful sale.

Attending the 2022 MAFE convention and/or banquet held in Grand Rapids were Nancy and Steve Thelen, Donna and David Jedele, Susan and Eugene Heusel, Dale and Cindy Radak, Casie Fritts, Judy and Bruce Fritts and Richard Sally. Those participating in the three days of convention sessions participated in many workshops and round table discussions relating to fair events and activities. The Saline Community Fair is looking forward to their 2022 fair, August 31 - September 4.

MAFE was established in 1865 and is a voice for the Michigan fair and festival industry. MAFE member fairs and festivals serve all 83 Michigan counties. Fairs are an economic and social asset to their communities and the state.

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