Back in October, Iowa State Fair CEO and Fair Manager Gary Slater retired after 21 years in the position. Who better to fill the position than the CEO of one of Iowa’s largest county fairs?

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In January, the Iowa State Fair announced that Jeremy Pearson would be taking over as CEO and Fair Manager at the Iowa State Fair. Pearson was the CEO of the Clay County fair which meant another major Iowa fair was looking for a new CEO.

via Clay County Fair
via Clay County Fair

On Thursday, the Clay County Fair announced Jerome Hertel as the fair’s new CEO/Manager. The fair’s new CEO has 24 years of upper-level fair management history. Hertel’s latest experience, as CEO of the Alaska State Fair.

The thing I really love about fairs is watching people have a good time and be happy. My goal is for when people attend the fair when they walk through that gate that they forget about everything else that they’ve had to worry about or be stressed over. It’s an opportunity for giving people a happy, joyful experience — if only for one day.

via Clay County Fair
via Clay County Fair

While Hertel is coming to Iowa from Alaska, his roots run deep in the Midwest. He grew up in South Dakota, right across the street from Turner County Fairgrounds, the oldest county fair in South Dakota. This is where his interest in fairs first began.

I was always involved in the fair — setting up carnival rides, working in the concession stands and whatnot…It’s kind of where it sparked my interest.

Hertel has experience with county, state, and non-profit fairs which includes jobs as the operations director of the Sioux Empire Fair (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and executive director of the South Dakota State Fair from 2008-2014.

His first day will be April 17th.

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