CASS COUNTY – If it was a typical year, Dave and Julie Williamson would likely be at the Cass County Fair, helping out Benton Franklin 4-H Club members. Julie was a 4-H Leader of the club for over 15 years, and Dave has been part of the Grounds Committee for over 42 years. Julie is also in charge of helping with Benton Franklin’s contribution to the Cass County Fair Food Stand, and was working with Cass County Extension Staff and another volunteer, Kristy York, on how to hold the Decorators Showcase Contest this year, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
But, of course, it’s not a typical year — which explains her working on the changes for the decorators showcase contest — but also why she wasn’t in Iowa last week.
“First of all, I’m down in Texas,” she said. “I’m down in Dallas. I’m babysitting with my daughter’s family. They just had a new baby. I’m helping out with their older daughter, so I’m kind of out of the loop of the county fair.”
Then she got a text from friend, Mike Plagman, last Thursday.
“So Mike Plagman texted me, and said, ‘Hey are you listening to KJAN?’ And I said, ‘Well no. Why?’”
Plagman explained the radio station was airing a program — known as the Fair 2020 Awards Night — and they were announcing things that would normally be announced during the Cass County Fair King and Queen Contest. Things like the Banner Award Club Winner, the recognition of Senior 4-H members and the 4-H Hall of Fame Award.
Julie remembered, “Oh yeah, it is county fair week,” and said, “In a normal year, we’d be at the fairgrounds, and we’d be watching the King and Queen contest.”
But instead she went and looked up the radio station on her phone, and started listening to the program. They started with the 4-H Hall of Fame Award.
“I’m thinking, ‘Who could it be be this year?’” she said. “There’s always so many deserving people to get that award. And I’m sitting at the supper table with my son in law and my granddaughter, and Kristy York (who made the announcement) said ‘Dave and Julie Williamson’ (were chosen) And (I said) ‘No way!’ I had no idea that we would even be considered for an award like that. It was very humbling and it was very sweet.”
Dave, meanwhile, she said, “was out cutting hay.” And he didn’t hear the news until Julie called him. And he was just as surprised.
“It was quite a surprise for both of us,” she said.
The award is typically given during the State Fair, and Julie said they would have loved to have gone to accept the award in person, but the State Fair was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In other news from the Fair 2020 Awards Night, the Cass County King and Queen Contest was not held this year, but instead replaced with a County Fair Scholarship Contest. Four Queen Candidates participated in the contest, including Jocelyn Amos, Paige Jensen, Taylor McCreedy and Emily Plagman. Points were given for interviews with the four individually and together, and the Top Interview Award went to Amos. Plagman received the Reserve Interview Award.
The 4-H Banner Club Award, in which Cass County Clubs are rated on different club participation items, was given to the Bear Grove Blazers.