Newest Fair Ambassador succeeds sister in role

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A sister crowned her sister as the Fair Ambassador at the Jan. 30 Crawford County Fair Gala in Eastman. Bridget Achenbach (left), 19, will hold the 2015 spokesperson title, handed down by older sister Sarah Achenbach, 21. Both are students at UW-La Crosse and the daughters of Lonnie and Jane Achenbach, of rural Eastman.

The 2015 Future Fair Ambassador Aubree Larson, daughter of Koren and John Gunderson, of rural Ferryville, was crowned by outgoing Future Fairest of the Fair Marie Achenbach, one of seven children of Lonnie and Jane Achenbach. Aubree is a sixth grader at DeSoto Middle School.

By Correne Martin

Fairest of the Fair 2014 Sarah Achenbach crowned her younger sister, Bridget Achenbach, as her successor on Jan. 30 during the Crawford County Fair Gala in Eastman. Bridget, the second daughter of Lonnie and Jane Achenbach, from rural Eastman, will hold a new title as the first Crawford County Fair Ambassador. She will still be the official spokesperson for the fair. The change in title was made earlier in January as a way to more “fully represent Crawford County and the fair.”

“The fair has always been a big part of my life,” 19-year-old Bridget stated, noting that she’s been showing animals for about 15 years. “It’s given me so many qualities I don’t get anywhere else. I want to be able to share those qualities with the communities of Crawford County so they can experience what I have and come to love the fair as much as I do.”

Around 80 people attended the Jan. 30 gala at the United Methodist Church Friendship Hall. While the Achenbach sisters exchanged crowns, their even younger sister, Marie, who was the 2014 Future Fairest of the Fair, crowned 2015 Future Fair Ambassador Aubree Larson as well.

Outgoing Fairest Sarah Achenbach reviewed the activities she experienced and accomplishments she made as last year’s representative. Marie Achenbach also recapped her year. Both shared the memories they will never forget.

Bridget, a 2014 Prairie du Chien High School graduate and freshman at UW-La Crosse majoring in business, gave her own speech, detailing her polished resume, which includes a first-semester dean’s list nod and contributions as a member of the business fraternity at UW-L. She also discussed the important qualities she’s gained from the fair, such as “hard work, leadership, perseverance, integrity and confidence.”

“The fair is something that you gain knowledge from in all different forms,” she stated, “and it can only happen if you experience it.”

Furthermore, Bridget pointed out the many impacts the fair has on communities, the business world and ag tourism.

Bridget said the gala was exciting and memorable. She was pleased to share her vision with the crowd. “Getting people to listen to me for five minutes, I don’t get that much in a family of seven siblings,” she quipped. “It was also great having my sister crown me. Sarah did an amazing job as Fairest of the Fair and I can only hope to do half of what she did.”

In 2014, Sarah, along with Marie and the Fairest of the Fair Attendant Mikaela Baker, also of Eastman, attended eight parades, the Crawford County Dairy Breakfast in Bridgeport, Apple Fest in Gays Mills and Oktoberfest in Prairie du Chien. In addition, Sarah attended the June Dairy Kickoff Banquet, the Meat Animal Auction Buyer Supper, two youth meetings, and about 10 required fair-related events, including the five-day fair itself. She also coordinated the Crawford County Kicks Hunger Campaign, which brought in $1,110 for area food pantries for milk products.

Now, following in Sarah’s footsteps, Bridget is thrilled about her new opportunity.

“I look forward to going into schools and spreading the message about the fair. I’m also very excited about attending a lot of parades and community events,” she said. “I love talking to people. They’re going to hear a lot about the fair this year.”

Once the fair arrives (Aug. 26-30), Bridget said she will have even more on her plate than just the Fair Ambassador duties. She also plans to continue showing beef, sheep, swine, rabbits, chickens and dogs, as she has since she was 4 years old.

“It’ll be the last year I can show. I’m hoping to balance the two as well as I can,” she said. “I’m up for the challenge.”

Future Fair Ambassador Aubree Larson is from rural Ferryville. She is the 11-year-old daughter of Koren and John Gunderson and a sixth grader at DeSoto Middle School. Aubree loves animals and enjoys attending the Crawford County Fair every summer. She will be attending many of the events alongside Bridget this summer, beginning with their first parade, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, on March 14 in Prairie du Chien.

“We’re going to get to know one another pretty well,” Bridget noted. “It’s going to be a busy summer.”

Aside from events, the Fair Ambassador and her court work with the media and promotes the educational, social and economic importance of the Crawford County Fair and the area’s agriculture industries. For more information, contact Amanda Nagel at (608) 412-4748.

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