The Clay County Fair Board has hired the general manager of the Alaska State Fair as its new CEO. Jerome Hertel replaces former Clay County Fair CEO Jeremy Parsons, who was hired earlier this year to lead the Iowa State Fair.

Hertel grew up in Parker, South Dakota, across the street from the Turner County Fairgrounds. It’s the oldest county fair in South Dakota. “Pretty much a playground for me growing up across the street,” Hertel says. “I was always involved in the fair — setting up carnival rides, working in the concession stands and whatnot…It’s kind of where it sparked my interest.”

Hertel has worked in fair management since 1999 and had been the Alaska State Fair’s general manager since 2014.

“The thing I really love about fairs is watching people have a good time and be happy,” Hertel says. “My goal is for when people attending the fair, when they walk through that gate that they forget about everything else that they’ve had to worry about or be stressed over. It’s an opportunity for giving people a happy, joyful experience — if only for one day.”

Hertel’s first day on the job in Spencer is April 17. The Clay County Fair starts September 9.

(By George Bower, KICD, Spencer)

Radio Iowa