The Buchanan County Fair Board has hired a full-time fair manager to oversee all aspects of the fairgrounds operations year-round.
Molly Zmudka, a native of Dubuque and a Wartburg graduate, will be the main representative of the Buchanan County Fair Association.
“As the manager, I will be the main point of contact for anyone with questions or inquiries regarding the fair,” said Zmudka.
Zmudka currently resides in Winthrop and has been commuting to her job in Cedar Rapids working with development and fundraising for a non-profit organization.
“Through [my current] position, I gained valuable experience in sponsor and donor relations, marketing, and event planning,” she said. “I have planned events for both big and small crowds, and have worked professionally with business and community leaders from a variety of backgrounds. I will welcome any opportunity to meet with someone and share my mission and goals. I have a love for people, and community, so I’m excited to use my past experiences to strengthen the Buchanan County Fair.”
Zmudka has a plan for when she starts in July.
“Right away, I will spend a lot of my time connecting with business leaders in Buchanan County, collaborating to create strong relationships,” she said. “I am looking forward to connecting with influential community members and hearing their opinions on the future of the fair. I will be identifying marketing opportunities, making the Buchanan County Fair as visible as possible. I want people to think of the fair any time they are looking for a venue or space for their event. I plan on holding a variety of events for the community at the fairgrounds, bringing everyone together in such a great space. One of my other priorities will be fundraising for the association, making sure that any funds we need are available.
“It’s a big job, but with the help of the board, I will be able to achieve my goals as manager,” she said.
Zmudka also has a few specific goals in mind. In the short-term, she would like to revise the sponsorship levels for the Buchanan County Fair. “I am all for creating sponsorship levels that are mutually beneficial and worthwhile for businesses of all sizes and industries,” she said.
In addition to getting to know area businesses, she wants to get to know the fair board members.
“The fair board has grown the Buchanan County Fair into a memorable week that families and friends from all over the county can enjoy together,” she said. “They have done such an amazing job thus far, and I am honored to be able to continue their work. My goal is to truly integrate myself with them,”
Zmudka admits she has some room to grow with her agricultural knowledge, but she is well-versed in working and having fun at county fairs.
“When I was growing up, my whole extended family worked at a funnel cake booth for the entire week of our county fair,” she said. “I have very fond memories of taking orders and yelling them back to my aunts, mixing up fresh batter, and eventually, when I was old enough, making funnel cakes in the hot fryer. Spending time at our county fair each and every summer was a great opportunity to bond with my family, and I know that many other families across Iowa can relate. Other memorable fair experiences include the countless concerts I have attended with friends over the years. To me, not much can beat a county fair concert.”
Zmudka is excited to call Winthrop home now.
“The community has been so welcoming and I could tell right away that Buchanan County is a special place,” she said. “I am thrilled to be starting my position right away with the 2019 fair. I will be around the entire week and look forward to becoming acquainted with each and every aspect of the fair. Keep an eye out for me and please introduce yourself if you see me. I love meeting new people.”