Show your pride for county's state fair booth

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By Jimmie Earls

OK, Washington Countians, what makes you proud about your community? That’s what members of the Springfield Tourism Commission, Springfield-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and Jill Settles with Community Education with the Washington County Board of Education want to know. Plans are under way to give a fresh look to the county’s booth at the “Pride of the Counties” exhibit at the Kentucky State Fair, and your help is requested.

“It’s an opportunity for us to showcase our county to everyone at the state fair,” said chamber president Ralph Blandford. “We’re trying to show people what Washington County has to offer and some of the things that we do here in the county that are unique.”

Also lending a hand and adding a fresh prospective are some students at Washington County High School. The students are led by Elizabeth Perry, marketing and DECA advisor at the high school.

“Jill Settles with Community Education at the Board of Education approached me about a month ago about the idea of working with the Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield Tourism Commission,” said Perry. “She said that in the past, the booth that represents Washington County in the ‘Pride of the Counties’ exhibit at the state fair had been more of an afterthought, and some people were disappointed in how it looked compared to some of the other booths. Jill had the idea that if we got these different groups on board, and have one of the high school classes put their ideas together, we could revamp the booth and give it a little bit of renewed energy.”

Members of Perry’s retailing class at WCHS have already come up with some interesting ideas.

“I have a class in this spring semester, it’s my retailing class, and it only has six students in it, so it’s the perfect opportunity to let those students really take ownership in this project,” added Perry. “With a small class like that, you can do a whole lot more as far as a project like this is concerned. These kids are just phenomenal, they’re so creative and they’re all go-getters.”

Blandford likes what he sees in the students’ enthusiasm.

“We felt that we needed some new ideas,” added Blandford. “I met with them for about 15 or 20 minutes, and before I left, they already had some fantastic ideas put together. I’m excited to have them involved because this is what they are studying in school, and I think they are going to do a great job. I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than to have the younger kids involved. Before, we had been doing the booth for so long that we didn’t know exactly which direction to go.”

In another twist to the re-inventing of the booth is that Perry is asking county residents to provide some input as well.

“We’re also trying to solicit some community input,” added Perry. “We plan to use quotes from community members on literature that we will have on display in the booth, and we envision using some enlarged pictures of Springfield to be the backdrop of our booth. It would be nice if we had some really good comments from the community printed on the pictures.”

If anyone would like to share their comments about what they are proud of in Washington County, they can e-mail them to Elizabeth.Perry@washington.kyschools.us or they can mail them in care of Elizabeth Perry to Washington County High School, 601 Lincoln Park Road, Springfield, Ky. 40069. The deadline for submissions is April 30.