The PA Department of Agriculture Friend of the Fair Program (previously the Outstanding Fair Ambassador Program) recognizes and acknowledges the hard work and dedication put forth by fair volunteers. Friend of the Fair Award recipients are individuals (or groups) who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, volunteerism and dedication, resulting in a significant contribution to the success of the local fair.
Betty Jane Mincemoyer, 2016 Friend of the Fair
Betty Jane Mincemoyer, age 90, began her lifelong love of agriculture and Pennsylvania’s Fairs as a child in Blair County. She participated in 4-H until the time she enrolled in college. After college, Mrs. Mincemoyer took a job as a home economist with the Penn State Extension which brought her to Union County in 1953. She began volunteering at the Union County West End Fair while in extension and soon met her husband, Donald. The newlyweds moved from Union County for a few years but came back and purchased a farm to raise their young family. Betty Jane’s daughter Beth recalls showing market lambs beginning in the mid sixties through the 1970’s and fondly remembers her mother was the 4-H leader of the Pleasant Grove 4-H club. They had their meetings at Camp Mount Luther. By 1971, Betty Jane Mincemoyer was teaching Home Economics and her husband Donald was an Agricultural Instructor in the Mifflinburg High School. Betty encouraged her students to enter exhibits as well as help with the preparations on the grounds and in the exhibit buildings.
When asked, Mrs. Mincemoyer has said her greatest achievement at the Union County West End Fair was getting the younger generation involved and interested in the fair. Some of those people that she had inspired as teenagers have continued to volunteer with the fair. Additionally, she encouraged her friends and family members to get involved at the fair. Her granddaughters exhibited photos, flowers, vegetables and artwork until they also went to college.
Betty Jane has served as the fair secretary for many years. Her beautifully hand written minutes are still preserved in our fair memorabilia. She also served as the superintendent of the Youth under 19 and Floral exhibits and offered additional incentives or sponsorships in those departments. After the Mincemoyer’s moved to the State College area, the family would continue to provide monetary contributions to the fair as well as area students heading to Penn State University’s College of Agriculture.
Dianne Shuck, 2015 Fair Ambassador
August 7, 2015—Dianne Shuck was recognized as the 2015 Outstanding Fair Ambassador, pictured with President Dennis J Boop (right) and Special Advisor to the Governor of Agriculture, Zachary Gihorski, of the PA Department of Agriculture.
Dianne has been coming to the Union County West End Fair since she was a toddler, showing Dairy Cattle in her teens, and then joining the Association in her early 20’s. Dianne has served as a member of the Board of Directors, President, Secretary and Treasurer. She has helped on the concession committee and worked in the office for over 35 years.
Don Shirk, 2014 Fair Ambassador
August 8, 2014—Don Shirk was recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Fair Ambassador, picturedwith President Dennis J Boop (left) and Special Advisor to the Governor of Agriculture, Barron L. “Boots” Hetherington, of the PA Department of Agriculture.
Don has been involved in the fair for over 40 years, serving first as a Department Superintendent for Vegetables, then as a Board Member and officer through the years.
Gene Hassinger, 2013 Fair Ambassador
August 9, 2013—Gene Hassinger, 2nd from the left, is pictured with President Dennis J Boop (left), Special Advisor to the Governor of Agriculture, Barron L. “Boots” Hetherington, of the PA Department of Agriculture and Representative Fred Keller, PA House of Representatives.
Ralph Dietrich, 2012 Fair Ambassador
August 10, 2012—Special Advisor to the Governor of Agriculture, Barron L. “Boots” Hetherington, of the PA Department of Agriculture presents the 2012 Fair Ambasssador Award to Ralph Deitrich.
Idella Zimmerman, 2011 Fair Ambassador
August 5, 2011—Idella Zimmerman being awarded the 2011 Outstanding Fair Ambassador award from Boots Hetherington of the Department of Agriculture.