Volunteers work tirelessly year around to prepare for the Johnson County Fair, to be held Aug. 1- 7 this year. This year’s theme will be Blue Jeans and Country Dreams. Submitted photo


Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The final weeks before the 2016 Johnson County Fair, which runs from August 1 6, is a very busy time for Jeff Bingham, who serves as president of the Johnson County Fair Board.
Bingham said about 200 county residents volunteer to help get it done.
Bingham said he and board members are grateful for one particular volunteer – Marlin Chanay, who retired this year after serving over 20 years as fairgrounds caretaker.

Marlin Chanay recently retired after 20 years as caretaker for the Johnson County Fair. He was recently honored for his service. Chanay is pictured with Jeff Bingham. Photo courtesy of Johnson County Fair Association

Marlin Chanay recently retired after 20 years as caretaker for the Johnson County Fair. He was recently honored for his service. Chanay is pictured with Jeff Bingham. Photo courtesy of Johnson County Fair Association


“He has been a vital part of the Johnson County Fair… he was there for us every month, he mowed for us, tended the buildings, cleaned up… was always very actively involved,” Bingham said. He also described how Chanay used to joke that fair week was his week off, as his time to work the grounds was the other 51 weeks of the year.
Chanay was recognized for his service and received a plaque at the June board meeting.
Bingham has been a member of the board for seven years and is serving his first year as president. The fair board meets monthly all year round.
“As soon as the fair ends in [early] August, at our [late] August meeting, we’ll start planning for next year. It’s a never ending cycle,” said Bingham.
Describing why he thinks county fairs are important, Bingham says, “It brings back memories of going with Grandma and Grandpa or parents to the county fair… it’s part of our heritage…”
The events that draw the biggest crowds at the fair – the demolition derby, the 4-H/FFA Market Animal Sale and Project Auction – are scheduled for August 6.
“Come see us at the fair,” Bingham said. “ We’ve got a lot of good things going on and we’d like to see everybody there.”