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Fayette Fair pioneer will be missed

| Friday, Oct. 17, 2003

People who've enjoyed the Fayette County Fair over the years owe a debt of gratitude to those who've tirelessly put in the hard work needed to make the fair possible.

They don't do it for money or recognition. They do it because they have a genuine love for the fair and what it represents. They do it because they realize the importance of agriculture and the need to promote it to the public and keep it instilled in people's minds.

Many people epitomize dedication to the continued success of the Fayette County Fair, none more than Rolland Herring. The 78-year-old Chalk Hill resident, who has volunteered at every county fair, recently passed away.

He'll be missed by many, and considering some of the comments made in the wake of his passing, the fair won't be the same without him.

"I've known Rolland since I was a little kid," said Bill Jackson, fair board president. "He was Mr. Fayette County Fair for many years. He was a community leader, but the fair was his passion. He was involved in many things, but nothing was more important than the fair."

"He was the fair," said Mildred Danko, fair board member.

"Rolland was always willing to do the work and was always very helpful with the programs," said his close friend, South Union Township farmer Jim Work Sr., who, along with Herring, was active on the fair board for many years.

There are many more words of gratitude, from many more people associated with Herring and his work with the fair. So many have worked alongside him at the fair since its inception in 1951.

Herring's interest in the fair was reflected in his chosen profession -- agricultural vocational teacher at Frazier School District, a position he held from 1951 until his retirement in 1977. His love and dedication for the Fayette Fair never wavered. He was on the fair board for 33 years, from 1964 to 1997, serving as secretary for 25 of those years.

"I love fairs," he said last February while discussing plans for this summer's fair. "I went to just about every county fair in Pennsylvania. They're a beautiful tradition of people helping each other. It's a tradition of volunteerism. Without volunteers, the Fayette County Fair would not exist.

Indeed, without people like Rolland Herring, the fair and any other activity or event that reflects community pride would not exist. He'll be missed. But for making the county fair his life's work, he'll never be forgotten.

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