For almost 20 years, the milkshake stand has been a standard at the Seneca County Fair, and organizers say it would not be possible if not for a team effort.
Each year the stand serves as a landmark on the grounds where countless members of 4-H and Junior Leadership have given their time to bring frosty treats to fairgoers.
PHOTO BY NICK DUTRO
Austin McDonald (from front), Owen Goetz and Ryan Lommerse prepare milkshakes Friday.
"It's just not one person, it has to be a whole team and the support of the rest of our families or we wouldn't make it," said organizer Linda Piper.
"It takes a lot of support, and just to have Linda here is a big help too," said Kelsey Rine, co-president of Junior Leadership. "A lot of the credit goes to her."
Although the milkshake stand began as a fundraiser for Junior Leadership exclusively, the stand since has become a joint effort between the group and the Seneca County 4-H Advisory Council. Through the Advisory Council, all 4-H clubs in the county sign up for a three-hour shifts throughout the week.
"We can't do it without all these kids," Piper said. "These 4-H kids and all their families, that's the main thing. The support we have, that's the only reason we're making a go of this."
"And they have fun, too," Rine said.
So much fun in fact, some people who have worked it never want to leave.
"Now they just can't keep me away from the fair," said Nicole Steinmetz, who worked the stand throughout her time in 4-H and in Junior
Leadership. "I just keep coming back from college to help them."
And it doesn't hurt that everyone who helps gets a treat after their shift.
Proceeds from the stand stay in the county and support both organizations. For 4-H, the funds go to support local clubs which buy fair books for their members.
"In this county, if the kid signs up for the project, that organization purchases their book for them," said Sue Lewis, who is helping to organize the booth for her first year. "That's not the way for every county. Some counties the kids have to pay for the books, so that's very nice. ... This is one of the things that helps that to happen."
Junior Leadership uses it for events such as Santa's Workshop and travel when members go to other fairs and meet with other groups.
In addition to having 4-H members man the booth during the day, the organizers are busy making sure everything runs smoothly.
Each day, opening and closing duties are taken care of by Piper, Lewis and Sue Steinmetz.
And Junior Leadership members also play a major role in cleaning at the end of the day, scrubbing floors and bringing in ice cream from a refrigerated truck on the grounds during the week.
Rine and Brandon Wise, co-president of Junior Leadership, have been involved with the stand through Junior Leadership for 4 years, and worked at the stand about 8 or 9 years through 4-H.
"It's been really great because we've had quite a bit of help, with the advisors staying after every shift, they've been really good at helping us with that, and we've actually been cleaning up in record time recently," Rine said. "Everybody has their specific job, we have a checklist and make sure everything is done and then we're out of here and ready to go home."
In addition, Steinmetz and her family have made regular trips to Kroger to pick up milk.
"I think that's why it works out so well, because we work in teams and that really work well together in that respect," Lewis said.
The building became used as the milkshake stand in the early 1990s when the Farm Bureau Dairy Bar was moved to its new location at the Junior Fair Building. However, organizers hope that next year they could have youth scooping ice cream in a new building.
Piper said there have been a number of upgrades to the building over the years, but it has almost outlived its useful life. There are plans to have a new building constructed before next year's event.