Thursday, March 18, 2021

 Don't Forget Your "Why"!

 As 2020 started we all were heavy into planning events. So much time, energy, thoughts, and enthusiasm were laid out on the table. Then those plans fell like dominos and the words that repeated over and over POSTPONED, CANCELLED, NO, NOT THIS YEAR, UNFORTUNATELY. Each time you heard those words it became more disheartening, and maybe you even started to get angry. Now here we are starting 2021. Great it’s a new year! Things are going to be so much better this year……..but are they? As you start planning you hear those dreaded words again, CAN’T, NOT ALLOWED, LIMITED CAPACITY. You’re checking your state guidelines often hoping they update with good news. You feel like you hit a brick wall. What once felt like sunny skies now feels like you’re staring down a dark tunnel.  You start to question “what am I doing? I’m just a volunteer. I don’t need to burden myself with these tasks of how to reimagine events. I get no financial or material gain from volunteering.” It’s easy to wave your white flag and say “I give up”.

Think back to when you first signed up to volunteer. What sparked you? What motivated you to continue? People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give back to the community or to make a difference to the people around them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.

I recently went and dug out my white flag. I was thinking about waving it, I give up. But wait, if I give up I can’t share my passion, my enthusiasm, my knowledge, and my experience of agriculture. Since I grew up on a farm, I often find myself taking the agricultural industry for granted. Everyone knows about agriculture and where their food comes from and the work it takes to get there, Right? Then as your county fair comes around and you walk around observing the general public. You notice their excitement, their curiosity, their fear, their amazement, and you listen to the questions they ask so they can learn what agriculture is all about. You can honestly answer that question now with NO, not everyone knows the importance of agriculture. At the IAFE Convention one year the keynote speaker was Dr. Temple Grandin. Her message plays on repeat in my head. “I got into an animal-based career because I was exposed to it. We need to expose more kids to farms, fairs, and expos so they can be exposed to animals…they may find a career with animals.” Exposure is the key, the best and most fun way to learn is by doing, by seeing, by touching, by smelling, by experiencing. The mission of our fair is to educate and involve the general public in our present and past agricultural and rural heritage, to promote the benefits of a strong agricultural industry, and to provide a unique blend of family-style entertainment and competition that people of all ages can participate in and/or appreciate. That’s my why.

Put down the white flag and don’t forget your WHY.

Jennifer Flinton

Zone 1

The Saratoga County Fair, NY

Saturday, February 20, 2021

 YPI Newsletter

It’s a new year! While many of us want to forget much of 2020, we cannot ignore the creativity, the skill-building, and, best of all, the community it provided (ok, maybe not in-person). The Young Professionals Initiative Steering Committee is excited to continue down this path of idea sharing and connecting.

We recently had the opportunity to hear about YPI’s beginnings and how the group’s current and former members have flourished in the industry. With this in mind, we look forward to introducing new ways to develop and network, building on the solid foundation YPI’s first members constructed in 2008 and 2009.

When this group first started it was developed and created with the idea to bring us together and as 2020 taught us, we needed that more than ever. It allowed us to try those new things that we only talked about before. “How can we do it?” well we learned and while some of us have become professionals at “Zoom” meetings. We are going to take it to the next level and provide even more comradery and connection than ever before. We are offering fun events each month that will hopefully excite you to join us each month!

Monthly YPI Events – Join us for virtual events on the 4th Wednesday of each month. From networking to skill-building, mentorship to self-care, we will focus on building each other up. Some events will be solely for YPI-aged members, while others will invite all IAFE members to join in the fun!

Fairs & Expos Contributions – Keep an eye out for articles and insights from our Steering Committee representatives in issues of IAFE’s Fairs & Expos publications.

Stay Up-to-Date and Connected! – Make sure you are on the YPI mailing list by filling out this online form. Also don’t forget to follow us on Facebook (Young Professionals Initiative – IAFE).

Please feel free to reach out to us or any of our Steering Committee members with questions or for support. We look forward to “seeing” you at events and continuing to grow alongside you!

We are so excited to serve you as your leaders for the 2021 YPI committee chairs and look forward to “seeing” you on this journey ahead!

Jennifer Dunn, CPIA 2021 Chair & Beth Pomije, 2021 Vice Chair

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Meet your YPI Steering Committee!  

Name- Jennifer Dunn, CPIA, 2021 Chair

Fair- The Linn County Fair in Central City, IA

 Position- Vice President (all volunteer run fair)

 Age- 36 (freshly 36)

Hobbies- Anything outside (Snowmobiling, running, refereeing HS and Collegiate soccer) love traveling and if I can catch a fair that’s an added bonus! In 2019 I visited 31 different fairs that year, I’m a fair junkie!

How long have you been involved with Fairs? I’ve been with the fair since 2006, where I served as the Secretary and Treasurer because they couldn’t find anyone to take the position. I had been attending our fair as I was a 4-H kid. When joining our fair association, it was all because of my beloved Father-in-law who is no longer with us today and his passion and care for the fair was infectious! He had big dreams for our fair and after his sudden passing, I made it a goal of mine to make those dreams happen! I regularly think about what he would say today about how far it’s come and the memories we are helping create each year! He is the reason I am involved with our fair and involved with IAFE. 

How did you get involved in YPI? It was all because I wanted to be like one of the “big kids”. It reminds me a lot of when I wanted to be fair queen. Looking at all the queen candidates from my youth days and thought “I want to do that one day!” Well, my dream came true! I paid attention to the emails, got involved when coming to convention and made connections! Believe me my role models come in all ages and if it wasn’t for the events that YPI put on at convention I wouldn’t be in this position today. With the events we are going to be putting on all year long that makes it that much easier for you all to be involved and I cannot wait to see you all more than just 1x a year.

What are you most excited about in 2021, personally and professionally? Personally- Mental and physical development. Challenge myself mental and physically. Professionally-taking YPI to the next level! I want to grow this group to one of the strongest groups in our profession. This network we build will help us all for the future and so excited to see this group take it up a notch! We didn’t get where we are today with out the work of everyone before us and I am grateful for the efforts they put into it!

What is a Fair memory you will never forget? Too many to name, but my top 3 are 1. Tornado touching down during our opening ceremonies! 2. Having to move our fair to our “sister” fair up north because our grounds was projected to be underwater in 24 hours on the 2nd day of fair. 3. In 2014, seeing the smiles from all the 4-H kids, parents, visitors to the grounds while standing on the wrap around porch of the newly constructed building that is named after my Father-In-law. He was smiling so big that first fair we opened that building that he had dreamed of for years! I just wish he was there to see it in person.

What is a motto or phrase you live by? “It all happens for a reason” I’ve had some challenges that looking back, it was part of the path that led me to where I am today. Those experiences were not fun, heart breaking, friendships and relationships changed (which hurts) but I have come to realize that I’m where I was supposed to be! I’ve grown so much from those challenges and what felt like road blocks or hurdles. I appreciate them now!


Name- Beth Pomije, 

2021 Vice Chair

Position- Commercial Vendor Manager at Wisconsin State Fair 

Age- 35

Hobbies- Hiking, reading, drinking coffee

How long have you been involved with Fairs? All in all, over 15 years. I started as Vendor Services Administrative Assistant in 2005, working summers through college and a teaching career, until I was added on full-time in 2015. Before that, I attended the Wisconsin State Fair every year with my family.

How did you get involved in YPI? I attended the Zone 4 Meeting in 2018 where I participated in my first YPI happy hour. Emily Grunewald (current Past Chair) talked about the Steering Committee and I was so excited about the mission and events of the group. I can truly say it was one of the best decisions, personally and professionally, I ever made submitting an application and jumping in head first as Zone 4 YPI Representative at my first IAFE Annual Convention.

What are you most excited about in 2021, personally and professionally? Personally, our family will be welcoming a baby girl on January 26th, joining our 4-year-old daughter, Cady! Professionally, I can’t wait to see how our new knowledge, skills, and initiatives from 2020 make our State Fair and events even that much better.

What is a Fair memory you will never forget? I got to meet the group Hanson at our Fair in 2018. The 12-year-old inside me was screaming, but I kept it together.

What is a motto or phrase you live by? “No day but today” from the musical Rent. But in 2020, it was “Just do the next right thing” from Frozen 2.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Zoom, Zoom, ZZZZZZ

Here we are in February and a good solid year into the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has taken all our lives and turned them upside down, times twenty.  Our kids were pulled from in-school learning, we were told to work from home, and God forbid you are seen at the local grocery store more than one time per week.  We went from being free to being prisoners in our own homes.

Zoom’s CEO, Eric Yuan, became one of the world’s richest people in 2020.  Zoom became avid in school and businesses, we needed Zoom!  Zoom is what kept our children getting their education and kept employees getting their paychecks; all from our home.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are other platforms as well who helped make a difference during COVID-19 such as: GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, BlueJeans, TeamViewer, etc., they all helped during our crisis, however, Zoom flourished! How cool is it that I can have a meeting with people in another country all while sitting in my house with my pajama pants on and a nice shirt?  AMAZING (I never did that by the way).

The challenge however, do we really get a true break when zoom is just a click away? Think about it. Everyone now knows how easy it is to just hop on a video call really fast.  Before COVID, people scheduled meetings to meet with you in person, they didn’t have to try something new.  Now they have to learn something new and only want to zoom with you and not meet in person.  This is convenient; however, this makes it a struggle to separate work from home and to give us a rest from office life.  Zoom can be exhausting!


Some signs of Zoom Fatigue:

       Leaving a zoom meeting feeling tired or having less energy than when the meeting started.

       When you are in a zoom meeting, you don’t get the “social-high” like you would at an in-person meeting.

       You feel like communication is lacking due to interruptions.

       You are angry due to technical issues and/or terrible internet. Darn technology isn’t always on our side.

       You are feeling confused during meetings.

       You constantly think about work, even when at home.


How can you prevent and/or help yourselves through this zoom fatigue you ask?

       Avoid multitasking! I know, I know, I am guilty as well.  Again, I thought this was another perk; however, I have recently learned that when multitasking on a zoom meeting, it costs us up to 40% of our productive time and causes a lot of memory issues.  We need to focus on the meeting 100%!

       Limit your zoom meetings: Having a large number of individual meetings throughout the day can burn you out fast. Instead, have one or two zoom meetings with the same people but in a group setting, Group Zoom! Another though, switch up the meeting to another format.  If the meeting doesn’t need to be a zoom meeting, send an email or make a phone call.

       Move around: Sitting in a meeting in person for more than an hour gets tiresome and so do zoom meetings.  Try to get up and move around at least every hour.  This movement will not only give you a break but will also get those creative juices flowing for your next call.

       Put your work clothes on:  Yes, it is nice to sit in our pajamas and yet still get paid as if we were in the office, however, putting on your work clothes will, overtime, help you associate “work” clothes with work and “home” clothes with home.  For those of us who do wear makeup, then yes, this applies to make-up as well.

       Speaker View:  Zoom offers a speaker view and a gallery view.  I love the gallery view because I can see everyone at once, and what they are doing, however, using the speaker view will help you give the speaker 100% of your attention.

       Location:  Make sure you are in a room that is quiet, preferably a desk or table.  Your bed, couch, etc. is not the best choice. Make sure your kids know when you are in this room and on your computer, it needs to be quiet and they cannot disturb you as you are in a meeting (easier said than done).

       Get some air:  Take a step outside (unless it is -36° like Minnesota/North Dakota) and take some deep breaths and enjoy mother nature (unless you see one of your kids zoom by on a 4-wheeler that they aren’t supposed to be driving then just go back inside (HAHA – true story)).

Lastly remember, you can get through this, it is only temporary.

I look forward to seeing everyone at our next IAFE YPI Event, on zoom!

Emily Grunewald
Director of Agriculture
Red River Valley Fair, ND

Monday, April 27, 2020

Newsletter April 2020

Managing Stress

If there is a time to discuss stress, it is now!  People throughout the world are scared and worried, we are all in uncharted waters.  COVID-19 has affected all our lives in some way, shape, or form. A large portion of us are working from home; balancing work, proctoring our children’s schoolwork, and keeping our homes a-float.  All of us are getting cabin-fever and are uncertain of what our summer will look like!  If you weren’t stressed before reading this, I bet you are now!  Here are some things we can do to help manage our stress.
·       Stretch:  When we stress, our muscles become tense.  Stretching will loosen these muscles up.  Even taking a hot bath/shower will help.  When businesses open back up, a great massage will help as well.
·       Go for a walk: Fresh air during a walk always helps clear your head.  Enjoy mother nature along the way.
·       Deep Breaths:  This would be great while on your walk as well.  You can also try sitting in a relaxing position, close your eyes, think of a happy place, take a slow deep breath in and out.  Doing this for five to ten minutes will help!
·       Eat Well: Though this is hard when we are on the 15-pound COVID-19 lockdown (that is what it seems like anyway). I am always finding myself munching more when working from home, however, try to eat a healthy well-balanced diet which will help give you more energy and a better mood.  Eating fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grain are best.  Don’t skip breakfast!
·       Make Time for Yourself:  Take a ten to fifteen-minute break and do something you love. Whether it be reading, drawing, knitting, playing with animals (my favorite), etc., doing something that brings a smile to your face will help immensely.
·       Vent:  We were always told as children that holding something that was bothering you in will not make it go away.  This still stands true.  It is always good to have that friend you can call up (or hopefully visit soon) and talk to. Whether it be about your kid’s distant learning challenges, your husband constantly bothering you while you are working from home, work in general, being cooped up at home all the time, or even the fact that Starbucks has the longest drive-thru lines and their lobby is CLOSED (ugh!); just let it out! We are not used to being stuck at home and we need human interaction, so pick up that phone and call someone!
·       You are Human!: Lastly, don’t beat yourself up (easier said than done, I know).  There is a lot going on in our world’s right now that we cannot control.  Things are not going to be perfect; you are not perfect!  It is okay! Take a deep breath, laugh or smile, and move on.  Things will work out.  Don’t sweat the small stuff!

COVID-19 Updates
The IAFE is always here for our fair industry.  Please go to their page for updates.  There is also a series of "Let's Talk COID 19" CyberSeminars offered.  We recommend you look into joining some of these seminars to learn what IAFE and other fairs are doing in regards to COVID-19.  These are very informative and extremely helpful.  

Steering Committee
The steering committee consists of twelve people under-40 who are passionate about the fair industry.  They will participate in conference calls, convention planning, recruiting, networking, etc. It is an absolute blast and you will not regret it.  

If you are apart of a fair in an even-numbered zone (zone 2, 4, 6, or 8), it is your year!!  We are also looking for one Associate Member. Please take a look at the following links for more information.  The deadline to apply is May 29, 2020!


  • Participate in the Igniter – IAFE Discussion Board! If you haven't already joined, now is the time to sign up for the IAFE's online member service. If you have questions or need help logging in, please contact the IAFE office at 800-516-0313. The board allows you to post questions/discussions, reply to topics, post document resources, look up contacts, and to network. This is an incredibly simple way for you to easily interact and communicate online and exchange ideas, experience, knowledge, and wisdom with your peers. Click here for instructions on how to use the board. Already signed up? Log in to participate and start a topic.
  • Post on social - Tell us what you're up to! Post using #IAFEYPI. You might just get retweeted! We're on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

November 2018 Newsletter

Meet Your New YPI Representatives 

Nicole Jones is 35 years old and joining us on behalf of Port Saint Lucie Florida, Zone 2.. She is a mother to a 13 year old daughter Rhegan and 16 year old son Joseph. She is a full time ER nurse and involved in a local soccer lead, being a member of the board. She is a junior board member for the St. Lucie County Fair. She first became involved with the fair industry in 2001 when she began dating her husband Joe. It started as hanging out while he worked, to then becoming hands on and helping. It’s only grown and never stopped from there. In 2014 Nicole and her Husband experienced their first FFF convention in St Augustine. They’ve made many connections since then as well as friends and can’t say we’d change a thing. In 2017 she accepted a role as the Florida Federation of Fairs YPI chair and led her first successful charity drive and 2nd successful YPI mix n mingle event. Nicole is honored to be selected as the Zone 2 YPI rep for the IAFE and hope to continue to excel at every task she is set forth to achieve. As well as fill the shoes left before her. Nicole and her family continue to be involved in many aspects of her local fair and will continue for years to come. The fair industry is one big family for her and she loves every moment.
Beth Pomije from the Wisconsin State Fair will be representing Zone 4.  Beth is excited to be celebrating her 13th anniversary of helping Fairgoers shop until they drop and start (and sometimes complete) their holiday gift-buying at the Wisconsin State Fair. Currently holding the title of Commercial Vendor Coordinator, she has held positions such as Customer Service Representative, Vendor Services Administrative Assistant, and Vendor Communications Coordinator. In her former professional life, Beth taught high school Health and Physical Education and coached girl’s ice hockey for five years. During that time, she realized her heart was at the Fair, and she could not be happier to be part of the industry full-time. You can also find Beth outside enjoying all Wisconsin has to offer with her husband, Taylor, and fostering her daughter Cady’s love for Fairs.  

Zone 6: Accepting applications.  Deadline is December 7th.

Alexcia Jordan from is joining us from Zone 7 where she manages the North Idaho State Fair. Alexcia has been an ag lover from the start, growing up with horses and competing in rodeos was her main passion for the majority of growing up.  She studied Equine Business and Accounting at Midway College in Kentucky continuing to pursue her love of horses. After college she found a home at the Appaloosa Horse Club as their Judges’ and Racing Program Coordinator, a job which allowed her to travel organizing World and National level horses shows and coordinate judge’s seminars across the county. After becoming a mom she looked for a position that would take her closer to her family and keep her home more with her kids,  luckily for her a position opened up at the North Idaho State Fair in February of 2015. Growing up in the fair industry between her involvement with 4-H and a mom who was a Fair Manager for 16 years it just seemed like the perfect fit. Hired in as Assistant Fair Manager she eagerly learned the ropes. Then in September 2016 she stepped into the role of Interim General Manager which in December led her into accepting the position of General Manager. Her passion shows through each day and her willingness to never stop learning extends to her team.  Under her leadership the North Idaho State Fair broke all records for 2018 and she is already looking at improvements for an even bigger and better 2019!

Our Zone 8 Representative is Chris Garmon from the Kern County Fair in Bakersfield, California, where he serves as Deputy Manager. He supervises the Finance Dept., Maintenance Dept., and the Livestock Dept. since 2016. Chris is originally from Santa Paula, CA where he worked at the Ventura County Fair for 14 years as the Exhibit Representative and Livestock Superintendent.  Chris is active in the California Farm Bureau where he is the YF&R District Representative for Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties. He also serves on the Kern County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.  Chris grew up on the family ranch where they grew cereal grains while in 4-H and FFA. Having raised heifers and steers, he earned his American Farmer Degree in 2003. He then attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he majored in Agriculture Science with a concentration in Fair Management. While in college, he was able to attend the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada. He has also been to the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, Scotland.  

The Associate Representative is Dennis Friebe from Kardeni Entertainment in Orlando, Florida. His magic act, known as Kardenni (Car-Denny) has performed in Spain, Portugal, England, the Bahamas, Canada and all across the US. You may have also seen him at your state or county fair as well as the grand stage of Disney World. As an actor Dennis has been on such shows and films as Swamp Murders (ID Channel), MacGyver (CBS), Savannah Sunrise (Netflix), and independent film sensation A Brilliant Monster. Dennis is self-motivated, a team player and hardworking.

Current Zone 4 Representative, Emily Grunewald from the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo, North Dakota, has been selected to move to the Vice Chair position.  Emily is the Big Iron Exhibit Coordinator and Livestock/Ag Education Coordinator for her fair. She is looking forward to further promoting our young professionals and highlighting their amazing skills and talents.  "As a group, our Young Professionals Initiative can make a huge impact on this one-of-a-kind industry. Whether they are doing community service, inventing new technologies, or embracing traditions our next generation is full of talented, hard-working individuals!"
2018 IAFE Convention YPI Events
For all convention information, please visit the new website -
Raisin' for a Reason - Sunday, November 25, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: LDR Room - Convention Center
Enjoy a social evening full of wine, spirits and food while supporting a great cause. Auction proceeds benefit the IAFE Education Foundation which supports the Institute of Fair Management.  The Young Professionals group will be a part of the action with a fundraising activities. Additional fee required. Inquire at the IAFE Registration Desk or at the door of the event.

YPI Sponsored Workshop - Monday, November 26, 2018 from 10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Millennials, Boomers, Traditionalist, Oh My!
Location: Room 221 B&C
This panel workshop is going to be one session you don't want to miss. One unique aspect of the Fair Industry is the broad age range that we work with. From our Jr. Fair Boards and 4-H, to the influx of traditionalist that we see on Senior's Day, this session will serve as a crash course in the "need to know" traits of Millennials, Boomers, & Traditionalists, Oh My!

YPI Meeting & Happy Hour - Monday, November 26, 2018 from 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Location: Room 220   
Come mingle with old friends, meet new friends, and relax for this free social hour. Join the YPI for an afternoon of networking and fun for your chance to learn about their involvement within the industry. Several YPI Steering Committee Members will be on hand and can tell you more about who we are, what we do and why you should be involved.
Sponsored by Haas and Wilkerson Insurance.
Ment-A-Minute - Tuesday, November 27, 2018 from 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at Room 225 B&C
Facilitated by the YPI Steering Committee, all convention attendees under the age of 40 (and invited mentors) are welcome. Interact with established industry professionals and have a chance to gain insight from them. This fast paced meet and greet is designed to introduce our up and coming professionals with our season veterans.  It is speed dating without fear of commitment, as you jump from table to table to find an industry mentor who is happy to help you on your way to success.
Sponsored by The Best Around
IAFE Closing Party & Awards Reception - Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Lilsa Cockrell Theatre
Our committee is proud to be a part of this celebratory event as we honor our membership for their hard work and dedication.  Come cheer on your friends, celebrate your own accomplishments, or even steal some awesome ideas for your next fair. Reward yourself with complimentary beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres.
Sponsored by Spectra by Comcast Spectacor

  • REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN for the 2018 IAFE Convention, November 25 - 28 in San Antonio, Texas.  First Impressions will happen and you won't want to miss it!
  • VOLUNTEER for an IAFE Committee and the opportunity to learn more about the industry, make new connections, and best of all, HAVE FUN!  Check out the IAFE website for more details and an application.  
  • Get SOCIAL! Tell us what you're up to!  Post using #IAFEYPI. You might just get retweeted!  We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
  • What's ON YOUR MIND? Talk to us!  To tell us what you want to see featured in the YPI Newsletter, click here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April 2018 Newsletter

The YPI Journey!

A message from our Outgoing Chair, Miranda Muir

When I submitted my application to serve as the Zone 2 YPI Representative in 2014 I honestly thought I did not have a chance at being selected. I was new to the state of Florida, with only my 1st Osceola County Fair under my belt, and had officially met only a few of our active IAFE Members, Staffers, and Supporters. Although I had attended the convention several times, it was more as a tag-a-long to my good friend Elizabeth McDevitt. However, having recently learned a great life lesson, if you do not let people know you are interested they will never know your desire to join the action, I applied. 

Now 4 years later I am the Outgoing Chair of this committee, serving an absolutely amazing group of young professionals. It has been a tremendous honor and I have gone from being scared to death to walk into the first on-site meeting to being sad that I soon have to say goodbye. It has truly been an experience like no other and I have had the opportunity to meet so many of our industry leaders, both newer and more experienced. I am forever grateful.

I am often asked, "how do I get involved with YPI?" The answer is simple, sign up for our email blasts so you know what's happening and then, just show up! Take that brave first step into the room, reach out your hand, and introduce yourself. Soon, like me, you will have true friends across the country and beyond. 

Those of us who have grown up in this industry or perhaps have just found a true passion and calling for it, usually have a few Fair Heroes. Recently I shared a story of my opportunity to meet one of those heroes and how completely amazed I was when he said, "I know who you are." My OMG! Moment. Since that time I have had the opportunity to get to know this person so much better and this week while attending IAFE Management Conference he shared how very proud he was of my work and what I have accomplished. His praise was overwhelming, but as awesome as it made me feel, I still found myself more thankful for having had the chance to shake his hand, soak up his knowledge, and having his number stored in my phone. No matter what Fair life throws at me, help, understanding, and guidance is just a phone call away. I truly believe that, and I know, without a doubt, it would not be the case, had I not sent that original application. 

If you are a young professional in the industry, in my opinion the best industry there is, and you truly want to learn and grow, seek out your fellow YPI'ers, attend the functions sponsored by the group, and know and understand all your hard work, dedication, and interest is being recognized, even though you might not realize it. The IAFE Family and the YPI Steering Committee are truly here to support you, cheer you on, and also be a crutch when needed. You will not be sorry.

Lastly, I must say a big THANK YOU to my committee members past, present, and future. I have learned so much from all of you. I have been completely impressed with your professionalism and talent and challenged to step up my game to keep up with you all. Thank you for making my year as your leader unforgettable. 

I hope to see you all in San Antonio for "First Impressions!"

Miranda Muir, CFE
Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show & Fair 
Kissimmee , Florida 

Looking to Get Involved?

The YPI Steering Committee is seeking new members from Zones 2, 4, 6, 8 and an associate steering committee member.  If you are under 40 years old and from an IAFE member fair in one of these Zones, we encourage you to apply to serve on the YPI Steering Committee.  All applications must be submitted by May 31, 2018.

  • For more information about being a YPI Steering Committee member, click here.
  • To download an application,  click here.

2018 Convention - Scholarship Awards

Each year the IAFE zones select young professionals from their geographic areas to attend the annual IAFE Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The YPI Zone Scholarship program began in 2010 and has expanded with a total of 21 scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000. This is made available to young adult’s ages 21 to 39 from IAFE member fairs. Here is a shout out to the 2017 recipients:

ZONE 1: 
  • Chantel Ford - New Brunswick Provincial Exhibition


  • Nicole Jones - Saint Lucie County Fair
  • Michelle Estrada - Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair


  • Jane Moore - Elkhart County 4-H Fair
  • Michael Smith - Ionia Free Fair
  • Spencer Morris - Indiana State Fair
  • Michael Strathmore - Canadian National Exhibition Association


  • Ashley Fitzgerald - Boone County Fair


  • Abbington Suchomski - Tennessee Valley Fair


  • Elise Burton - North Idaho State Fair
  • Ryan Modica - Adams County Fair


  • Ciera Keith - Douglas County Fair
  • Elisa Seppa - Marin County Fair

If you see any of these recipients at your events this year, congratulate them! These are just a few folks who are the future of our industry and their hard work and dedication will pay off.

Are you interested in receiving a scholarship this year? Announcements and other scholarship information will come in the upcoming months - stay tuned! 

New Adventures

New adventures are always fun, especially in our industry.  Scott Stoller has been a huge supporter of the fair industry and the IAFE YPI.  Mr. Stoller is currently the Fair Manager at the Silver Dollar Fair in California, however, his family is in for a large "new" adventure.  Mr. Stoller has recently been hired as the new General Manager at the Colorado State Fair. Safe travels to the Stoller Family and have fun on your new adventure!   

YPI Spotlight

Chris Pickering 
Western Fairs Association
Sacramento, CA 

  • How long have you been in the fair industry? I've worked many summers at various fairs, however, 2011 is the first year as a career.
  • What advice do you have for anyone new to the industry? This industry is all about people. Get to know everyone; we're a fun bunch! Also, stand in the shade and on the grass as much as possible during fair time. Your un-sunburnt skin and somehow-still-sore feet will thank you.
  • What’s your favorite fair food? Big Bubba's Bad BBQ - Chicken Kabob 
  • What’s your favorite fair (other than your own) that you've visited? I visited the Big Fresno Fair for the first time in 2016 and was blown away.
  • What does the YPI network mean to you? YPI provides a structured opportunity for me to not only network with my peers, but also to access a wealth of knowledge and experience from industry greats.
  • What is the best fair advice you've ever been given? My Dad would tell me and some of his business partners: "We've made a lot of money together." That's really helped me re-frame my view of fairs as a business where fair managers support the vendors, carnival, and concessionaires to be successful together.
  • Position: Communication Director
  • What’s your favorite fair memory? As a 'Youth Ambassador' at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, I interviewed Carrot Top for our radio station. I had watched him perform there for years, so I was ecstatic. He proved even funnier backstage.
  • What is one item you can't live without during the Fair? Sunglasses
  • How did you get involved in the Fair industry? I grew up running around fairs, so my return to the industry for a career was inevitable.
  • Have any other great tips or words of wisdom you'd like to share? It could be anything - work/life balance, organization skills, etc. Please share it here! During my first fair in a management position, I collapsed midday. I hadn't eaten, and I hadn't taken a break...I was just too busy relieving my staff for their breaks and 'putting out fires.' That's when my Dad told me: "You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself." As exemplified later in my military career, I still let my soldiers eat first...but I also carried snacks.

Mentor Spotlight

Steven Muir
Osceola County Fair
Kissimmee, Florida

  • How long have you been in the fair industry? Since June 2009. My wife convinced me I needed to build a pirate ship for the kids area and I've never stopped. 
  • What’s the best / hardest lesson you have learned in the industry? Figuring out who you can depend on at 3am the morning of opening day. Working with a large number of volunteers you have to quickly learn who is hard-working and dependable and who just shows up for the party. It's difficult to accept, but a lesson worth learning.
  • What’s your favorite fair food? Funnel cakes, corn dogs, and mini donuts. All the Fair staples.
  • What do you feel is the biggest change / challenge you have faced? My wife being my boss. She's passionate about what she does and likes things to be perfect. Not sleeping the week before opening day is pretty much the normal routine. It's always a challenge to live with a Fair Manager.
  • What question would you ask a mentor? What has and has not changed? It's all about balancing the past and traditions while moving towards the future at the same time. The more I can learn about our past, the more helpful I can be in the future. 
  • If you could give one piece of advice what would that be? Remember why we do what we do... for the kids and community. They days get long and nights even longer. You will be tired, cranky, and ready to quit, but it is all worth it when you can give a child a fun day they will never forget.
  • What’s the one thing during the fair you can’t live without? Pepsi and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
  • What’s your advice on handling failure? Nothing is a complete failure because you can learn from it and make it better or completely change it.  
  • What’s your favorite quote? "It's Ricky's Fault!" It's an inside joke, but always makes everyone laugh and lightens the mood.
  • Who is your role model / mentor? Although he was not involved in the Fair Industry, my Grandfather was a strong community advocate. He was involved in many different service oriented organizations, always put others first, and was extremely well respected by everyone. You could not go anywhere without him running into someone he knew. He was a wonderful person and taught me quite a bit about life and who I should strive to be.


  • Participate in the Igniter – IAFE Discussion Board! If you haven't already joined, now is the time to sign up for the IAFE's online member service. If you have questions or need help logging in, please contact the IAFE office at 800-516-0313. The board allows you to post questions/discussions, reply to topics, post document resources, look up contacts, and to network. This is an incredibly simple way for you to easily interact and communicate online and exchange ideas, experience, knowledge, and wisdom with your peers. Click here for instructions on how to use the board. Already signed up? Log in to participate and start a topic.
  • Post on social - Tell us what you're up to! Post using #IAFEYPI. You might just get retweeted! We're on FacebookTwitter and Instagram