On Oct. 18, the Boonville-Oneida County Fair held an Appreciation Dinner at Stysh’s Brown Barn & Campgrounds in a beautifully resurrected dairy barn. They wanted to recognize the dedicated, hardworking and amazing volunteers along with the Board of Directors that made the 2023 fair such a success. A special thank you was given to Dan Stysh for hosting this great celebration and Tim and Lisa Dean for preparing and donating the great buffet dinner.

President David Hyatt gave an overview of the 2023 fair. He said, “If it wasn’t for the dedicated volunteers, the Board of Directors and the many sponsors there wouldn’t be a fair; we surely couldn’t do it alone.”

He also thanked Boonville and the surrounding towns for their unwavering support to help keep the Great Boonville-Oneida County Fair alive and well.

Oneida County Legislator Steve Boucher spoke of the great relationship the county has with the fair and expressed that they really appreciate the fair and the volunteers for highlighting our agricultural industry and the 4-H kids.

Boonville-Oneida County Fair board & volunteers recognized

President David Hyatt and 2023 Volunteer of the Year Karen Romeo Philbrick. Photo by Beth Fox

Boucher also thanked Bob Grems and the board for reinstating an old and successful tradition that Bob and the late President Newell Wagner started 30 years ago called the Children’s Youth Opportunity Day. This year, a partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Oneida County legislators, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente and Oneida County Youth Bureau Coordinator Kevin Green brought 300 children from Utica, Rome and Sherrill to the fair. All of the kids were able to see up close – for some, for the first time ever – cows, sheep, goats, pigs and of course fair food.

Another guest was Sheriff Rob Maciol, who spoke on the long-standing relationship and history between the Sheriff’s Office and the county fair, not only to provide a safe environment for fairgoers but to give updates the child ID program and the new technology they can utilize, such as the new Drone Program. They performed patrols over the fairgrounds and provided information on being safe and building relationships with the community.

Lisa Farney from CCE presented Hyatt and Ben Simons with a Certificate of Appreciation for the fundraising auction called “The Best of Oneida County.” They were able to raise $1,832 for the Oneida County 4-H Youth Program.

Another certificate that was presented was the 2023 Volunteer of the Year, to Karen Romeo Philbrick. She tirelessly volunteers in spring and early summer planting flowers in and around the fairgrounds. She also works beside her husband Kevin Philbrick nights and weekends with electrical upgrades and maintenance. She volunteers for many events on the grandstands and has been seen cleaning up at 3 a.m. around the fairgrounds. She is very thorough and sees things through. She is always there for any task asked of her.

by Ben Simons