EUSTIS — The Lake County Fair raked in four awards last week at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions awards virtual show — a first in the fair’s 100-year history.
Fair Manager Stacey Wade accepted these awards at the IAFE headquarters in Springfield, Missouri on Tuesday which included first place for “Out of the Box Marketing,” awarded for their character Mayor Ferris Wheeler.
The fair also won first place in “Outdoor Advertising” for a fair billboard, second place in “Multi-Page Advertising” for their 100-year Anniversary Guidebook and third place for “At Home Activities,” awarded for their coloring contest and coloring page.
“This is the first year that the Lake County Fair has ever submitted anything and winning the first time was really cool,” Wade said. “It’s a very personal accomplishment for me because it shows all our hard work paid off.”
More fair coverage: Lake County Fair prepares for 100th anniversary opening
Historically speaking: A look back on the history of the Lake County Fair
Lake fair officials: 100th annual event set a record
This was Wade’s first official fair since becoming fair manager in 2020. The 2020 fair was cancelled just two weeks before it was scheduled due to the pandemic so the 2021 fair became extra special for Wade, on top of it being the 100th anniversary.
With her leadership came new ideas for entertainment, marketing and educational activities, which she said was a little tough in the beginning.
“I’m most proud of the ‘Out of the Box Marketing’ award given for Mayor Ferris Wheeler,” Wade said. “Ken Thiboult, who plays Ferris Wheeler, and I came up with the concept and created this character that people grew to love. It was a hard sell at first. I don’t think people could wrap their mind around it but Ken made this character come to life.”
Thiboult has more than 35 years experience in the entertainment industry and became the lovable Mayor Ferris Wheeler who opened each night of the fair with an official ceremony, appointing a junior mayor of the day. Throughout the year, he has been attending parades and community events, giving away his “business cards” which are free admission tickets to the next fair in April 2022.
“This is as much his award as it is ours,” Wade said. “It was truly a work of heart for both of us.”
Their billboard design, created by Clear Channel Outdoor, also took first place and the 100-year guidebook created by Triangle News Leader took second.
“The Triangle News Leader contacted us about doing our guidebook and even though we were on a tight timeline, they knocked it out of the park,” Wade said. “For a fair our size to get that kind of recognition for our book is almost unheard of. It was a very proud moment.”
The surprise of the night was actually the coloring page award for “At Home Activities.”
“Artist Tim Reed spent about a month creating something for us because we just wanted something we could use over and over for the kids and it turned out to be a fantastic piece of art that incorporated all the pieces of the fair,” Wade said. “We loved it so much that we turned it into a coloring contest and then to win an award for it was just awesome.”
The Hall of Honor Communications contest states that it “recognizes the top fairs in our industry exceeding in promotional advertising efforts.” They received 530 entries from fairs across the world, divided into 13 categories.
The 2022 Lake County Fair is set for April 7-16 and Wade already had some surprises in store.
“We are changing some of the entertainment to keep it fresh and new but Mayor Ferris Wheeler will be back,” Wade said. “We want to continue being ‘out of the box’ and will be kicking out our promos at the first of the year. We are so excited for our 101st county fair.”
This article originally appeared on Daily Commercial: Lake County Fair wins four international awards for 100th annual event