TROY — Every year thousands of locals and visitors come to Alparon Park for the biggest Bradford County event of the year in the Troy Fair. Dozens of volunteers work tirelessly year long to put on the week long event including a small group of teens that “make the fair possible,” according to Troy Fair Junior Board Director Emily Vinson.
The junior board is comprised of 15 teenage girls that work with the Senior Fair Board and Intermediary Board to put on the annual summer fair. Originally the board was just a small group of high school volunteers, but it has since grown into an essential part of the fair planning process.
“They are such a huge asset,” Vinson said.
Junior board member Lauryn Watkins said that she grew up at the fair showing animals, eventually became Troy Fair Queen and wanted to be involved with the fair after.
“Something makes me keep coming back,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun, a little stressful, but fun.”
“It feels like there’s a lot riding on you and you just want to make the best experience for fair goers and make it better than the year before,” she continued. “It’s always hard to beat those expectations, but in the end it’s worth it.”
Megan Borek, who plans on attending RIT, says that the junior board program has taught her how to come out of her shell and communicate with people she is working with better.
“Seeing the fair behind the scenes has been really cool,” Borek remarked. “We have to come up with original ideas and it’s fun to implement those into the fair.”
Some of the new ideas to come out of the junior board this year were an Instagram account, e-ticket sales, and post-fair surveys with analytical analysis. Also, the junior board is in charge of the themed days at the fair such as law enforcement day, STEM day, kid’s day, music day, and more.
“They’re so smart,” Vinson said. “They have taught us so much about social media.”
Katelyn Andrus of Canton said that working with the senior board has been a rewarding experience, but being a role model for the younger kids is the most rewarding.
“It’s been great,” Andrus said of the senior board. “They help each other and us as well. We teach each other different things.”
“They all see us as someone that’s dedicated and has a lot of responsibilities, maybe someday they will want to be like us,” she added about the next generation of Troy Fair junior board members.
While the junior board opportunity for teenagers looks great on a college application or a resume, first year junior board member Lylah Smith says meeting new people and making new friends was her favorite part of the experience.