The Elkhart County 4-H Fair Board hired a new general manager, choosing Bryan Blair, a veteran with lots of fair and exposition experience, to fill a brand-new role created with an eye toward expanding the fair’s future.
Blair’s job as general manager will be to provide leadership and vision for growing the fair, as well as overseeing the fair’s staff and grounds for the fair board.
Rich Utley, 2015 fair board president, said, “We are pleased to welcome Bryan Blair as our new general manager. Bryan has substantial experience in the fair industry.”
Blair said, “I am excited to be part of a great team at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, and I look forward to getting to know the staff, board members and the entire community. There is a longstanding tradition and well-known reputation across the country that the Elkhart County 4-H Fair is committed to its community and youth for providing solid opportunities for education, promoting agriculture and industry, and providing entertainment all around the solid foundation of a very strong 4-H program. I am eager to get started in the role as general manager and help continue to build on the success that has been achieved through many years of hard work and dedication by countless people.”
Since 2009, Blair has been an expositions administrator with the Kentucky State Fair Board in Louisville, having key roles in the production of the Kentucky State Fair, the National Farm Machinery Show, the Championship Tractor Pull and the North American International Livestock Exposition.
He also managed the School Tour Program for the Kentucky State Fair and North American International Livestock Exposition, which saw a 28% increase in 2014. Among other things, he assisted with the administrative management of the Championship Tractor Pull and the National Farm Machinery Show.
Blair’s experience in fairs started in 1997 when he took the initiative to re-organize the Taylor County Fair in Campbellsville, Kentucky, after a 20-year hiatus. With Blair’s leadership, the fair held its first event in 1998 and he served as president of the fair board until 2001. He received a commendation from the Kentucky State Senate for his work with Taylor County’s fair board in 2000 and was named the Kentucky Fair Person of the Year in 2001. The Taylor County Fair has won numerous statewide awards in the past 17 years, and Blair has remained active on the board and in a management capacity.
Prior to coming to the Kentucky State Fair, Blair spent14 years employed at Campbellsville University as director of broadcast services and later as sports information director. He has provided the play-by-play for more than 500 Tiger and Lady Tiger basketball broadcasts on the radio and has also worked as program director, news director and announcer at several south-central Kentucky radio stations.
Utley, speaking on behalf of the fair board’s executive committee, said, “We eagerly anticipate Bryan starting as our General Manager on Nov. 3, 2014.”
With Blair’s assumption of duties, long-time Elkhart County educator and fair supporter Stan Knafel will step aside from the temporary staff leadership role he assumed as fairgrounds coordinator in 2013.