Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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September 13, 2012

Gavel passes, new fair logo revealed by fair board

WAKARUSA — For Tim Graber, the theme for next year’s Elkhart County 4-H Fair isn’t a stretch.

During the annual fair board banquet Wednesday night, Graber unveiled the festival’s theme: “Harnessing the Future of Our Youth.” Graber is the 2013 fair president, and for the past 12 years has directed the fair’s harness racing program.

Count him also as a proponent of the “4-H” in the fair’s title.

“I see so much good that comes out of that,” Graber said prior to the dinner at Nelson’s banquet hall in Wakarusa. He was in the county 4-H Lamb Club, and now so are his children.

Graber, a Goshen-area resident, took over the gavel of leadership Wednesday from outgoing 2012 president Jack Lengacher Jr. However, Lengacher did more than hand off a mallet — he was also the bearer of good news.

Last year, fair officials took ownership of 253 acres east of what had been the fairgrounds boundary. The $1.4 million purchase of the Aggregate Industries property effectively tripled the size of the fairgrounds.  

Fair officials started a fundraising campaign to raise the $1.4 million. Suffice it to say they were successful: The property is paid off.

“We retired that debt at the end of August,” Lengacher told the board and various guests.

Earlier Wednesday, Graber praised the community support for the fundraiser. He also looked ahead to the opportunities the “new” acreage opens up for the fair.

“Right now, the sky’s the limit,” he said. “... It’s just an exciting time of year thinking of the possibilities out there.”

Graber is also anticipating his time heading the fair board.

“I just wanted to say thanks for the opportunity to lead this organization for the next year,” he said in the banquet hall.

The 2013 fair runs July 19-27.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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