Replaces Shea who oversaw move to Willowdale, addition of Rodeo and more
EAST MARLBOROUGH — From being at point of crisis, to again being a thriving community event, the Unionville Fair is saying farewell and “Thank You” to one leader and welcoming a new one.
The Unionville Community Fair has been moving up and moving ahead for the past seven years under the leadership of President, Jayne Shea. But Shea has decided to step aside and Danielle Chamberlain will take the reins to lead starting with 2014 and beyond.
The Fair was founded in 1924 by a teacher at Unionville High School as a farm show, and the Unionville Community Fair has seen its ups and downs over the years, finally facing a real crisis when it appeared to be losing its location: Unionville High School. At the start of Shea’s Presidency, in 2007, when facing a loss of its home because of the then-pending renovation project at Unionville High School, as well as dwindling volunteers and a divided community spirit, Shea was quoted in a local publication as saying she hoped the negative spirit would take a positive turn.
In 2008, Shea’s determination and positive encouragement led the movement, taking the fair to its new home on the Willowdale Steeple Chase property behind Landhope Farms,while rallying a throng of new volunteers with fresh ideas for entertainment, including the introduction of the Denim and Diamonds Dinner and Auction and most recently, the widely popular Willowdale Pro Rodeo.
But after making the Fair bigger and better than ever — just a few years after its very future was in doubt — Shea decided the time had come to hand things over to a new leader, but one who has played a key role in the resurgence of the event over the past few years.
Chamberlain, who has worked beside Shea for the past six years, said she feels ready to take up the challenge. She says she comes with eyes wide open to the challenges ahead. Born and raised in Lancaster County, she attended the West Lampeter Fair and developed a strong love for agriculture and community.
Here, she’s directed youth handcrafts, been sponsorship chair and on the Unionville Community Fair’s Board of Directors for the past six years. She and her family have been entering their items in the fairs contests for many years, and hold the titles of the Family Award, the Youth Award and the Robert Struble Award.
Chamberlain says she has a lot of ideas but needs volunteers from the community to bring those ideas to fruition. She plans to concentrate on education by having an on-site mobile agriculture lab for class trips and to carry on the “green” theme by promoting recycling.
Chamberlain sees the fair as an “institution whose role is to teach our youth about the importance of agriculture and the vital role we play in understanding and protecting our local farms.”