By Gloria Hafemeister
for the Daily Times
BEAVER DAM -- Three Dodge County women are competing for the opportunity to serve as the official hostess at the Dodge County Fair Aug. 14-18.
The candidates had their initial interviews Monday evening during the annual press party where members of the media learned about the special events planned for this year's fair just east of Beaver Dam.
Applicants include Kennedy Ferron, 20, Beaver Dam; Kendra Gillett, 18, Fall River; and Krista Justman, 20, Mayville.
Ferron is the daughter of Todd and Tracy Ferron. She is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Her goal is to graduate with a bachelor's degree in animal science with an emphasis in beef cattle or livestock. She aspires to have a career as either an artificial insemination technician or a livestock nutritionist. Ferron has shown cattle at the fair for many years as a member of the Burnett 4-H Club.
Gillett is the daughter of Kenn and Dana Gillett. She will be attending the UW-Madison in the fall. Her goal is to eventually attend the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine and one day open her own vet clinic. Her hobbies include reading, volunteering, crafting and eating deep fried pickles at the Dodge County Fair.
Justman is the daughter of Gail and Mark Justman. She is a college sophomore at Fox Valley Technical College. She aspires to be the fairest of the fair in order to serve as a role model for other girls as she looked up to previous fairest of the fairs. She is a member of the Lomira Clover Leaves 4-H Club and enjoys volunteering at St. Peter's Church.
During Monday's event the candidates had their initial interview with the judges Sandra Budewitz, owner of Sandra D's Bridal Boutique in Watertown; Jim Mielke, Beaver Dam, Dodge County administrator; and Linda Chipman, Beaver Dam, owner-operator at Chippy's Popcorn Creations in Beaver Dam.
Final interviews and the crowning of the Dodge County Fairest of the Fair will take place at the fair on Aug. 14 at 5 p.m. during a live broadcast on WTKM Radio.
Haley Justmann, 2018 Fairest of the Fair, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Lakes and shared her experiences as fairest and her memories of the Dodge County Fair where she said watching the fairest of the fair contest was on top of her list.
"Seeing the fair behind the scenes is incredible. Seeing the expressions on the faces of fairgoers, meeting the exhibitors, getting to know the fair board and seeing the parents expressions as they watch their children show is something I'll never forget," she said.
She said she also felt honored to see the expressions of excitement on the faces of little girls who asked for the opportunity to pose for a picture with "the princess."
The candidate who is chosen for fairest of the fair will also represent Dodge County at the state Fairs Convention and compete for the opportunity to serve as Wisconsin's Fairest of the Fair, a paid public relations position. Justmann described her experiences at the convention in January and mentioned how much she enjoyed meeting all of the candidates who represented fairs across the state.
Fair board president Doug Ninmann outlined the activities for this year's fair and mentioned things that are new this year.
He introduced the new space managers Barb and Dan Mullen. He also introduced Nancy Ptaschinski whose husband, the late Gerald "Butch" was a longtime "behind the scenes" volunteer at the fair. This year's fair book was dedicated to him in appreciation for the help he provided for so many years.
After more than 40 years of providing special fair entertainment on the grounds for children the producers of the Kandoo Magic Show are retiring. Ninmann said this year there will be a similar show provided, Nick's Kid's Show.
The Wild World of Animals will again be returning as well as the pig, duck and goat races.
The chain saw carver will return again with the auction for his creations moved to a new location on the stage in Radio Park.
Ninmann thanked the Dodge County Emergency Service group for providing constant coverage at the fair, alternating between departments.
In addition to the fairest of the fair contest on Wednesday the Badger State Tractor Pull will take place. Thursday is the meat animal sale for youths to sell their champion animals to the highest bidders as well as Friday features the Junior Britches showmanship event, Kiddy Tractor Pull and an evening performance by LANCO.
Saturday begins at 8 a.m. with a draft horse pull and the Holstein Futurity show at 12:30 p.m. There will be an afternoon tractor pull, the chain saw carver's auction; small animal auction; Supreme Showmanship contest and in the evening music by the Great White and Slaughter.
Sunday includes the four-wheel truck pull; dairy youth auction; demo derby (afternoon and evening); Little Britches and Little Shephards showmanship contests.
Throughout the fair youths from all around the county will be competing in various categories in the livestock arena and the youth building. They will be exhibiting projects they have worked on all year through 4-H and FFA.
The carnival at the fair will again be provided by the local family-run A&P.
Ninmann mentioned that a third cart has been added for providing rides for those who have difficulty walking from the parking lot to the fair grounds. The carts are also available on the grounds for taking people from one area to another.
Admission this year is $7 before noon and $10 after noon with free parking and free grandstand. Season tickets are $27 when purchased before Aug. 14 and $35 if purchased at the fair.