Manager of county fair plans to resign

Lippy says he's leaving after four 4-H/FFA fairs

Gave `heart and soul' to event

Carroll County

August 19, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Running the 107th Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair, opening the new $5.5 million arena, overseeing 75,000 visitors and 16,000 exhibits, with more than 1,000 of them live animals, and trying to help his children show their entries proved too much for Barry Lippy.

The 57-year-old retired teacher, who has managed the past four county fairs, is stepping down from the job. Although he has not submitted his resignation to the Carroll County Fair Board, he has told its members that he plans to resign.

"I need a `not drive you crazy' job," Lippy said yesterday while tidying up from the fair that ended Aug. 6. "You can't run a family and a fair at the same time."

Lippy, who lives on a small farm near Lineboro, said he has enjoyed his time at the county's Ag Center, where the fair is held.

"I will miss a lot of the people I became friends with here and meeting all the media personalities," he said.

He said he would consider staying on at the center in a less taxing capacity, such as events coordinator for the Danele Shipley Memorial Arena. The 52,500-square-foot building with a show ring has booked several events and animal shows for the coming months.

The fair has grown considerably during Lippy's tenure as manager. Attendance has increased about 50 percent in the past four years, and more children are becoming involved in its activities. The weeklong event may be more than one manager can handle, he said.

"Barry has done a great job, and has given his heart and soul to the fair," said Lynn Talbert, chairwoman of the fair board. "But as the fair has grown, his job has become more difficult."

The manager position, created seven years ago, has helped make the fair more visible in the community, Talbert said.

"We have been able to expand the schedule, get the word out to the community about activities and get follow-up with this job," she said. "There is a lot of public relations involved. The manager secures and handles vendors and plans the layout. He is the resource for the community."

But no matter how well a manager prepares in the months before the fair, glitches inevitably occur.

A few months before last year's fair, the board realized the arena would not be completed in time. Lippy had to locate and lease many oversized tents to house and showcase livestock. This year, Lippy had the arena ready but not enough pens to hold the animals. He bought some and borrowed hundreds of others.

"I had no idea how much work was involved in this job," Lippy said. "It can be really hard for one person."

The position is part time but expands to seven days with long hours in the months before the fair.

"It can be a real challenge to juggle all the work and is really demanding as the fair gets closer," Talbert said.

The executive board of the fair has yet to discuss the resignation and explore options for replacing Lippy, Talbert said.

That panel, which does not meet this month, will recommend an action to the fair board, she said. One option is appointing a committee to run next year's fair, she said.

"Barry brings a lot of experience to the table," she said. "We hope he will stay with us as a volunteer, and since he has children in 4-H, I am sure that will happen."

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