Fairest candidates share importance of the fair

by Courtney Booth and Kara Abraham of the Fairest of the Fair Committee

Four candidates have applied to become the next Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair, the Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair program has announced. The 2015 Fairest will be named at the Fairest of the Fair Gala Monday, June 8 at 7 p.m. at Laack’s Ballroom in Johnsonville.

The Fairest of the Fair serves as the official ambassador for the Fair, welcoming families and individuals to attend the Sheboygan County Fair, Labor Day Weekend. Throughout her year, the Fairest is involved in county-wide events such as festivals, picnics, parades, adult care center visits and youth events. While attending these events, she is the public relations professional that shares the story of what makes the fair unique and inviting for all. Each candidate was asked to complete a two-page application,

a 250 word essay titled “Why is the Sheboygan County Fair important to you and your community?” and attach their personal resume. During the Fairest Gala, these four candidates will be highlighted in a live competition onstage for the selection of the 2015 Fairest of the Fair. To give readers a preview of the candidates and the exciting evening that is planned, we’ve asked the candidates to share a little more about themselves and some highlights from their essay.

SARAH SCHALK, 21, Waldo,

is the daughter of David and Debra Schalk. She is a graduate of Plymouth High School and is currently attending UW-Fond du Lac where she is majoring in Animal Science. She is currently employed by Mills Fleet Farm where she assists customers in the Lawn and Garden Dept. She is also employed at La Quinta Inn where she helps at the front desk and also works at Sundance Farms. Her future goals include transferring to UW-River Falls and obtaining her degree in Animal Science with an Agriculture Business minor and then she would like to attend graduate school at the University of Kentucky where she would like to be in the large animal nutrition field and specialize in equine.

Schalk shares in her 250 word essay, “The Sheboygan County Fair is important to my community and me for several reasons. In my opinion, the most important reason is that the community has the opportunity to see what the youth have done for the year. Throughout the fall, winter and summer, the youth of the county work hard on countless projects. The projects range from arts and crafts to cattle they raised. Participants worked hard to show their results at the fair. With the 4-H building and the barns, the community has a chance to see what the youth can and did accomplish. I personally enjoyed showing my material projects to the public at the fair. I showed my horse, cats and dogs at the fair. It was exciting to show my hard work I put into my projects,” adds Schalk.“Another reason why the county fair is important is the benefits it provides local businesses. Businesses have the chance to get their name publicized and to interact with the community. The fair is wonderfully beneficial for our economy and local businesses. The county fair is the last summer event before kids have to go back to school and the weather stars to change. It’s a great time to spend time with both family and friends. There are so many different exhibits to see and experience. The fair has new events each year to keep it exciting, and it never disappoints. This is why the Sheboygan County Fair is important to my community and me,” concludes Schalk.


Falls, is the daughter of Steve and Heidi Widder. She is a graduate of Sheboygan Falls High School and is currently attending Iowa State University where she is studying Agronomy and Genetics. She is currently a summer intern for Dow AgroSciences- Plant Breeding Research Station in Arlington, WI where her duties include sorting and counting seed, planting nurseries, pollinating and taking field notes. Her future goals include graduating from Iowa State University and then attend graduate school for plant breeding. She would like to return to the university to teach agronomy courses and do research.

Widder shares in her 250 word essay, “The Sheboygan County Fair means tradition to my family and I. I grew up showing beef cattle and exhibiting projects through the 4-H program. The fair is a time to celebrate the 4-H and FFA exhibitors’ hard work from the previous year. Exhibiting in the county fair had taught me lessons and values such as responsibility, hard work, how to be a fair participant, and how to communicate my knowledge to the judges. The fair has always been a time for our friends and family to come together and enjoy the livestock shows, meat animal sale, great food, entertainment, pony rides, Grandpa Cratchet, walking through the local businesses, and most importantly enjoying the company of being together and making memories. There is a vast array of events for the community to attend in addition to the ones I listed above,” adds Widder. “The county fair is a great way for the community to explore agriculture and learn about the agricultural industry from the 4-H exhibits and other exhibits and events held that week. The fair is a great way to bring together the community by giving community members a wide range of fun and educational activities for them and their family members to attend. The fair symbolizes community. Community is defined as “a group of people living in the same place” and “a feeling of fellowship with others”. The fair is a way to unite Sheboygan County and offer the public a week filled with fun activities,” is the daughter of Tom and Katie McCabe and Debbie Oberreich. She is a graduate of Sheboygan North High School and Lakeshore Technical College and is currently attending UW-Fond du Lac where she is studying pre-vet with a Biomedical/ Animal Science major and a Business minor. She is currently employed by Sprint as a Sales Representative and Advance Auto Parts as a Key Holder/Customer Sales Associate. Her future goals include becoming a Veterinarian and owning her own Veterinary Clinic and Animal Shelter.

SHANNON MCCABE, 24, Sheboygan,

McCabe shares in her 250 word essay, “The Sheboygan County Fair is very important in many different ways to both me and my community. Growing up the Fair was always my favorite way to end the summer. I was always so eager to showcase several 4-H projects and animals, which I had worked hard on all summer. Throughout my years showing in 4-H at the County Fair, it has taught me leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. The Fair was not just a chance for me to demonstrate my talents and hobbies; but it also gave me a chance to socialize with people from Sheboygan County and all over,” adds McCabe.

“The Sheboygan County Fair is one of the largest County Fairs in the state of Wisconsin; which demonstrates how much the community endorses the Fair. There are numerous exhibits from all over our county at the Fair; which gives our community a way to promote the magnificent things Sheboygan County has to offer. The Fair is not only educational and entertaining, but the heart of our community. In my opinion the Fair is the perfect way to end your summer,” concludes McCabe.


Plymouth, is the daughter of Ed and Denise Beck. She is a graduate of Plymouth High School and a graduate of Fox Valley Technical College where she obtained a Technical Degree in Agriculture Business/ Dairy Technician. She is currently employed at Goeser Dairy, LLC where she helps care for the transition cows and keeps records on cow calvings, breeding, pregnancy checks, etc. Her future goals include working fulltime on a dairy farm as a herdsman or assistant herdsman or owning her own dairy farm. She also wants to continue growing her purebred Simmental herd and marketing them.

Beck shares in her 250 word essay, “The Sheboygan County Fair has always been important to me since I was little. Every summer I would count down the days until the county fair. County Fair was always a week that is spent with family and friends. I have met so many friends throughout the years at the county fair. I always love interacting with the public and teaching them about the beef project by telling them that I work with them every day and I get to travel the United States showing my cattle at national shows. I also like to tell the people that being involved in the livestock project has given me so many life skills such as; communication skills, work ethic, and time management. With these skills it will help me get a job in the future,” adds Beck.

“I believe the county fair is important to the public because they get to see animals that they don’t get to see every day. They also get to learn that the fair is not all about the animals there are so many other aspects to it such as; the 4-H building where they get to see all the other projects that the kids in 4-H and FFA have worked on throughout the year. There is also the open class building where people not in 4-H or FFA can bring projects to the fair,” concludes Beck.

There is a three-person interview panel evaluating the candidates all day on criteria from their written applications, individual interviews, group interviews and Gala speaking performances. All attending will witness the candidate’s self-introductions, 30 second radio advertisements, impromptu question/answers, on-stage presence, overall communications and knowledge of the fair. Additionally, there will be entertainment by the Willing Workers 4-H Club, a farewell by outgoing Fairest, Danielle Navis and an update from Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs, Deanna Schlies. The newly selected Alice in Dairyland, Tayanna Loether, will provide an afternoon candidate workshop and keynote address. The newly named Fairest will receive the Barbara A. Siegert Memorial Fund Scholarship of $2,000 along with prizes. The 1st runner-up receives a $500 scholarship award from Gene and Kathleen Kaestner Family and the 2nd runner-up receives a $200 scholarship award from Bill and Pauline Jens Family. All candidates will receive numerous gift items for their participation. Over 120 businesses from throughout Sheboygan County have donated their products and services to the Fairest of the Fair program. In addition to the prizes donated for the candidate gift baskets, the sponsoring food-based companies will feature their products for the public to enjoy at the “Winners’ Dinner” in celebration of the outstanding accomplishments of the candidates vying to become the next Fairest. For more information or questions about the event, please contact Courtney Booth, chair, at (920) 893-6823.

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