Stacey Faith has been in her job at the county’s extension office for a year, but fair week is when her skills are really being put to the test.
And if you catch her at the Johnson County fairgrounds this week, you might see her taking a quick glance at the notes she took when learning from her predecessor last year.
Faith took over as the Purdue extension educator for Linda Souchon, who retired last year after 27 years on the job. Since then, Faith’s focus has been on teaching classes and giving talks on nutrition and how food impacts the body.
But this week, she is focused on the fair and said she is thankful she was able to spend last year with Souchon, learning about her duties as one of the key organizers of the county fair.
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“I got to basically be her shadow for a couple of months, so it was amazing to have that opportunity — she was so knowledgeable and had everything pretty much (ready to go). I’m still going over notes I took when she was here last year,” Faith said.
This week, Faith is working to get all the open class projects seen by judges, overseeing all the non-agricultural creative entry categories, such as fine arts, quilting, floral arranging, photography and the popular lemon baking contest, and also helping run the annual preschool Read Taste Touch program. One change this year is that people can enter up to four times in several food categories as long as recipes are separate, which she hopes will boost the number of contest entries, she said.
Fair week is among the best weeks of the year for both her job and the entire community, she said.
“I think for both youth and adults, it’s a great thing,” she said. “Kids can build leadership skills with 4-H, and younger kids can participate with Mini 4-H projects.”
“I think it’s really great overall for the community and it brings people together — to eat fair food, enjoy the carnival and learn about all kinds of things. It’s a great event for everyone to get involved in.”
As Faith works this week with fair entries and helps manage all the contests and judging, she’ll also be looking for new ways to integrate nutrition into the fair’s activities.
Faith’s background is in nutrition. She has a master’s degree in dietetics from Ball State University, and previously worked in the Vigo County Purdue Extension office before landing her job in Johnson County.
One of Faith’s biggest projects are the Master Food Preserver certification classes she teaches to other heath and human sciences extension educators, which focus on safe food preservation techniques. She also is on the speaker’s bureau for Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County, and routinely gives talks on nutrition and the brain, diabetes and other food-related topics to both children and adults across the county.
Name: Stacey Faith
Job: Health and Human Services Educator at the Johnson County Purdue Extension Office
Specialty: Nutrition education
Education: master’s degree in dietetics from Ball State University
Her other major job this week: managing open class exhibitions at the Johnson County Fair and running other programs like the preschool Read Taste Touch lessons
Here’s what’s going on at the fair today:
9 a.m.: 4-H Beef Grooming Contest, 4-H Beef Showmanship, 4-H Born & Raised Steer Show, 4-H Beef Heifer Show (Indoor Arena-South End)
12 to 12:45 p.m.: Lemon Baking Contest Entry (Johnson County Extension Office)
1 to 5 p.m.: Poor Jack Amusements — Kiddie Day on the Midway
1 p.m.: Lemon Baking Contest Judging (Johnson County Extension Office)
5 to 8 p.m.: Cooking Demonstrations (Farm Bureau Building)
6 p.m.: Registration for Pedal Tractor Pull
7 p.m.: Pedal Tractor Pull (Farm Bureau back lot)
7 p.m.: Horseshoe Pitching (west of the Fair Office)
7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.: Greg Rhodes on the Free Stage
7 p.m.: Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Tractor Pull/Farmstock Pull (Grandstands) Admission: $10/adults, $5/kids 12 & under