This year’s fair marked the fourth year Brian Cordial has served as Champaign County Junior Fair Board advisor.
Cordial retired from the Urbana Police Division on July 15 after being with the division since 1992. While still working for the division and being junior fair advisor, Cordial said, he worked the day shift, allowing him to attend night meetings. He would often use two to three weeks of vacation time at the fair.
“Normally at this point in the week, I’m thinking ‘doggone vacation’s almost over,’” Cordial said in preparation for the fair. “It still really hasn’t hit me exactly that I’m not on vacation I’m just actually retired.”
Cordial noted he is scheduled to begin working with the Champaign County Municipal Court’s probation department Monday.
Cordial said the junior fair participants are high school youths generally from 4-H or FFA who are seeking to go into an agricultural career field. The junior fair board had 32 participants this year.
“We’re in a leadership role to help the kids that are a part of that junior board to learn how to work with senior fair board members and learn how to run various livestock shows throughout the fairgrounds that go on throughout the week,” Cordial said about the advisor role.
During the fair, Cordial said, the junior board handles a number of duties including selling tickets, checking vehicles at the entrance, working in the grandstand and other livestock shows.
Being able to work with children and see them develop the skills concerning fair operations are what interested Cordial in the position.
“It’s like being a school teacher, that you see your freshman come in and they’re just a naive young child and they leave you when they’re a senior and you just see a 360 change,” Cordial said. “It’s neat to see and I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve watched these kids come in brand new, now they’re going off to college and most of them are pursuing agricultural degrees some of them want to be doctors and I have no doubt they will be able to do that.”
Cordial called the junior fair board a full-time commitment. He added the fair is the culmination of a year’s worth that is a byproduct of what the board has done all year. The board’s planning stages starts in January, runs through the fair and Cordial said he will start looking for new members in November.
“I always ask my kids that if you’re going to commit to it, be committed,” Cordial said. “I’m never going to let them make a mistake so bad that everything gets all screwed up, but you do learn by your mistakes and it teaches them responsibility and to be responsible for your actions, it teaches them to be committed and I think it just teaches them how to become a young adult.”
Cordial said anyone interested in participating in the junior fair board can check the board’s Facebook page, which will be updated when applications are being accepted.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.