A native of Warsaw, he graduated from Warsaw Community High School in 1988. Dirck has fond memories of the fair. He volunteered by parking cars, playing bingo and helping his parents, Ron and Nancy, at different vendor booths. Dirck dabbled in 4-H as a youth and now serves on the 4-H Horse and Pony Committee.
Dirck has served six years on the fair board. He was president three years ago. During his first term, the board created a much-needed general manager position so someone could oversee the fair office and fairgrounds. A new general manager, Rich Petre, has recently been hired and will oversee day-to-day operations.
About five years ago, 4-H was dropped from the fair’s official title. Dirck said it was strictly a business decision and now the two entities are separate but work together.
“We still work with them,” said Dirck, of the 4-H office. “We work well together, and 4-H is still a big part of what the fair is all about.”
This past year, Dirck and the other board members have helped institute some new changes at the fair. This year, the fair is using a new electronic ticketing system.
“Our main goal is to get accurate counts for our vendors and for our advertising,” he said. The question we get asked frequently is, ‘How many people attend the fair?’ Now, we will be able to tell them.”
This year, people may purchase tickets from any of the five ticket booths. This includes tickets for any of the grandstand events. Also new this year, people may use debit and credit cards at any of the ticket booths.
Dirck is also looking to the future. He serves on the fair’s long-range planning committee. In four years, the fair celebrates its centennial year as it turns 100 years old. The fair board hopes to raise $1 million by 2016 in order to have some big events, he stated.
The fair board would also like to build a community or convention center on the grounds. “We certainly have the real estate for one,” he said.
Dirck said he would also like to see a new Merchants Building and the Dairy Barn needs a new facility, too. Junior Leaders is also making its building in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. “It should be done by fair week,” he smiled.
This year’s fair runs from July 9-14.