Over 90 association members, advisors, and guests gathered to recap the Berrien County Youth Fair Association’s 2017-18 fiscal year on Tuesday night at the annual meeting held at the Youth Memorial Building. President Bruce Foster welcomed everyone to the 73rd Annual Meeting of the Berrien County Youth Fair Association, Inc. “We had a very successful fair again this year. With the help of all the volunteers and board members, we were able to showcase over 11,000 exhibits from over 2,000 youth of Berrien County between the ages of 5 and 20,” Foster said. He thanked the board of directors for their input and the contributions of the volunteers.
The minutes of the 2017 annual meeting were presented and approved. Susan Coulston, Board Treasurer, presented the annual financial report. She reported the Association’s total operating income of $1,414,605 and total operating expenditures of $1,307,834 resulting in an increase in unrestricted net assets of $106,771. Coulston said, “Overall we had a nice solid year. All obligations have been paid in full. The association remains in sound financial position.” The financial report was put on file for audit.
Secretary Karen Klug discussed BCYF year in review. Klug reported on non-fair events keeping the grounds busy from April through October. Four new roofs were completed during the fiscal year along with a new sheep pens, a used John Deere 1570 front mount lawn mower and new pig show pens. The Berrien County Youth Fair was presented with a unique opportunity to open up the grounds for camping, overnight and overflow parking for the Motocross of Nations at Redbud Motocross in Buchanan at the beginning of October. Three successful fundraising activities raised enough money to cover the premiums paid to youth exhibitors. Our 2018 BCYF theme was “Passport to Adventure” and what an adventure it was! The weather forecast called for bad weather, but none ever really came up. A scavenger hunt to all youth was well received in its first year with 400 youth participating and 50 completing the hunt vying for a chance at one of six prizes. Our attendance was 104,129 (down about 17,000), 2,134 (down 38) exhibitors and 11,427 (down 364) exhibits. Klug thanked all the volunteers and staff who make BCYF what it is with their passion and giving of their time and talents.
Each year six members of the Board of Directors are elected for a three-year term. The following were nominated and elected for a three-year term: Rob Christner of Berrien Springs, Bruce Foster of Berrien Center, Ken Kuespert of Niles, Cathy Reifschneider of Stevensville, Noreen Soos of Berrien Springs and Jill Lozmack-Mollberg of Galien.
The Outstanding 20-Year-Old Exhibitor award winner was Kevin Mitchell of Buchanan. Selection of this award is based on a point system covering Youth Fair participation and volunteering other than the fair week over the last six years of exhibiting. Mitchell received a trophy and $300 scholarship award provided by the D. R. Potts Memorial Scholarship Fund. Second place and receiving a $200 scholarship award was Sami Strauss of Three Oaks and third place and receiving a $100 scholarship award was Madison Lohraff of St. Joseph. Austin Soos also was recognized as a 20-year-old exhibitor.
The Friend of the Fair award was presented to Jim Shank and Richard Mann. This award is given annually to those individuals, families, and/or businesses that have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help with the many activities at the Youth Fair.
Following the Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors met to select officers for the 2018-2019 year.