Representing Kalona at the State Fair forges connections for long-serving volunteer

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This year will be Richard Adams’ 19th year volunteering at the Kalona booth at the Iowa State Fair. 

“I’m kind of a customer service person when I’m at the State Fair,” Adams said. 

People come to the booth eager to purchase cheese curds made by Kalona Creamery, and ice cream bars made by Yotty’s Ice Cream shop, and Adams makes sure the booth stays well-stocked.  Sometimes fairgoers pick up a brochure and ask Adams about the place he grew up.

“Oh, it’s fun.  You see people you haven’t seen for a long time.  I hear stories about Kalona even my parents and I didn’t know.  I just like the interaction with people,” Adams said.

Adams used to attend the State Fair only on weekends, but in recent years he has extended his stay to the whole week.  He parks his camper at a friend’s house, which is only a five-minute walk away from the fairgrounds.

One of his favorite parts of the State Fair is the food, and because he has attended so many fairs, he knows where to find the best of it.  But part of enjoying good food is being in good company.

“When you’ve been at the State Fair for years, you get to know some of the vendors.  You make the rounds, and see all of your old friends,” Adams said.

Adams is doubtful there is anyone else who has volunteered to work at Kalona’s State Fair booth as consistently as he has over the years, but he encourages those who are interested to join him there.

“If you care about your hometown and feel connected to your roots, and you want to do something to help the town out, I would say do it.  That’s why I do it.”

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