Ag Fairs Honor Winners of Friend of Illinois County Fair Award

Ag Fairs Honor Winners of Friend of Illinois County Fair Award

The IL State Fair will run Aug. 9-19 in Springfield. The DuQuoin State Fair runs Aug. 24-Sept. 3.

The Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs presented their "Friend of Illinois County Fair" award to John Telford from the Livingston County 4-H Fair, Mary and Eldon Julius of the Stephenson County Fair, Alvin "Al" Henninger from the Boone County Fair and Newt Lundquist of LaMoille.

Last weekend IAAF recognized individuals who are outstanding Illinois county fair supporters, volunteer workers or innovators during their annual meeting at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.

The IAAF "Friend of Illinois County Fair Award" is sponsored by Jeff Blomsness of North American Midway entertainment from South Barrington.

The 2012 Illinois State Fair runs August 9-19, 2012 in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fair August 24- September 3, 2012. Visit the ISF website at or

John Telford

After 46 years showing and volunteering, Telford is known by all the Livingston County fairgoers in Pontiac. In the mid 60's as a 4-Her he showed Angus cattle and played softball. He enjoyed the fair and wanted to give back to others, so in1985 he became a member of the Fair board and continues on as Swine Superintendent. He has held various offices during his tenure including serving as co-President.

Telford's many accomplishments include improvements to the swine and show barns, a new barn, and building. The welding of new panels for pens and gates. He spearheaded his crew of volunteers making improvements for exhibitors and fair guests. You find him in boots leveling off the new concrete for the new playground area to painting the buildings. He donates his time, talent, farm shop and farm equipment where and when it is needed.

Mary and Eldon Julius

For Mary and Eldon Julius, the Stephenson County Fair is a family affair. Mary is the Secretary of the Fair, Eldon is the accountant and handyman and daughters Beth and Melanie are Superintendents in the Antiques Department. The Julius' have volunteered over forty years of time, effort, resources, and service to the fair.

Mary's mother-in-law, Katie Julius got her involved in the early 70's. An avid sewer, Mary became assistant superintendent of the sewing department. In time, she moved up to the superintendent of the sewing department and then the whole Home Ec Building. There she expanded and improved entries and displays. Another popular event is the cake walk which she organizes. Retiring from her full time job she became a fair board member and treasurer for the past three years.

Alvin Henninger

Alvin Henninger was one of the original Directors of the Grange in 1957, when the County Grange took over ownership and operation of the Boone County Fair. In 1963, while President of the Grange; they purchased the original 84 acres of land. Henninger retired in 2010 and was made an honorary member with voting rights on the Boone County Fair Board.

Under Henninger's leadership the fair grew because the focus was working together for the good of the fair. During his tenure, they purchased 17 acres in 1991, built 2 new pony barns, a Grange Hall was relocated to the fairgrounds, another 52 acres was purchased in 1994, and a new goat and poultry barns were erected. Other additions were made to the dairy, beef and sheep barns, roads were improved and camp grounds upgraded, new restrooms and facilities for dressing rooms were erected. Today the Boone county Fair ranks second in the state for attendance and the number of exhibits on their 152 acre fairgrounds.

Newt Lundquist

Lundquist is a licensed funeral director and partner in the Lundquist-Merritt Funeral Home in LaMoille. Currently he is a life member of the Bureau County Fair. To most fairgoers he is "Buttons the Clown" who makes them smile, laugh and have fun!

 He was a fireman and ambulance crew member for many years. While serving as a co-founder of LaMoille's Buffalo Days, he was inspired to attend Clown Camp. His love of children and deep caring personality radiates as "Buttons the Clown". He started his company Buffalo Run Enterprises in the early 70's.

The Illinois State Fair, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and the Carolina State Fairs have all been entertained by Buttons. He also has done events in Wyoming, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana and the Central Canadian Exposition in Ottawa Canada.
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