A new dining pavilion, relocated from its former location at Big Doug’s Meaner Weiner in Indian Pines, has been erected on the Yates County Fairgrounds, and dedicated to the long-serving director and president of the Yates County Fair Board, John Andersen. At the dedication ceremony, Andersen was introduced and lauded by his granddaughter, Maren Andersen.
“I am sure you all know why we are here tonight. We are here to show our appreciation for a special person who has done a lot for our local community and the Yates County Fair… You know this wonderful man for his red socks, red suspenders, and red beard. His hair isn’t so red anymore, but it will always be red to me. You know this inspiring man as John Andersen, but I know him as Poppy.”
Maren conveyed the sentiments of all the Yates County Fair Directors when she described John as “hardworking, dedicated, extremely loyal, and would do anything for this Fair.” Andersen’s association with the fair began while he was in high school, when he showed cattle as a member of 4-H. Soon after, he began helping around the fairgrounds doing various jobs in the mid 1960s; and in 1970, he became the general superintendent and manager of the fair. In 1975, he became 2nd Vice President, moving up to 1st Vice president in ‘76. In 1982, he became President of the Fair Board, and has served in that role for the last 35 years.
Beyond Yates County, he was made President of the N.Y.S. Fair Managers Association in 1980, and in 1999 he was named President of the N.Y.S. Association of Agricultural Fairs. Anderson has also served as the Town of Jerusalem Supervisor and Town Justice, as well as a a member of the Yates County Legislature; “And all of this while owning and running a family vineyard for over 50 years,” said Maren. “He always put everything and everyone else first before himself.”
Asked about the Yates County Fair, Andersen says the two things he loves about it are the fair board members and volunteers who are like a second family to him, and the kids who keep him going and remind him what it’s all for. “I love the Fair,” says John, “always have, always will. Once it’s in your blood you can’t stop it.”