Central Alabama Fair manager receives honor

Published 9:31 pm Thursday, March 13, 2014

Central Alabama Fair director John Haskell will tell you he wasn’t looking to earn the title of Fair Manager of the Year from the Association of Alabama Fairs, but others are quick to say it is an honor he deserves.

Haskell was named the Chester W. Freeman Fair Manager of the Year Award during the association’s Feb. 15 meeting in Montgomery, and he said it came as a surprise to him.

“I mean it certainly feels great to receive this honor,” Haskell said. “Especially when you realize how many great fairs there are throughout the state and how many people work day and night to make these fairs what they are.”

John Ussery, President of the Association of Alabama Fairs Board of Directors, said multiple fair managers from across the state were considered for the honor, but the board was impressed by the amount of work Haskell does year round to make the Central Alabama Fair what it is today.

“John does a little bit of everything at the fair,” Ussery said. “I know that between seasons he is responsible for the grounds at the fair, and then starting in the spring he touches base with suppliers and media contacts.”

Ussery said that Haskell works with parking lot attendants, law enforcement, janitorial needs, amusement ride set-up, and any last minute build repairs and cleanup during the fair, which is sponsored by the Selma Lions Club.

“It’s so vitally important for us to have people like John doing this hard work at the 23 different agricultural fairs we have throughout the state,” Ussery said. “And, we just needed to honor these people fantastic job.”

This is the first year the AFA’s manager of the year award was named after Chest W. Freeman Award, bthe association’s first president.

Even after accepting the honor, Haskell said his work at the fair is far from over.

“Of course we are always trying to make the fair better every year,” Haskell said. “Because the better fair we can have the better it will be for the entire community.”