Pingree couple are EISF parade grand marshals
For the MORNING NEWS
BLACKFOOT – The Eastern Idaho State Fair’s board of directors has named Gary and Muriel Judge of Pingree as grand marshals of the 2012 Eastern Idaho State Fair. They will lead the annual Fair Parade down Shilling Avenue on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 10 a.m.
“Gary and Muriel are no strangers to the Eastern Idaho State Fair and I can’t think of two more deserving people to represent us this year as grand marshals,” said George Hamilton, president of the EISF Board. “Their lifelong contributions to Eastern Idaho’s agriculture community and to this Fair have been outstanding. I can’t remember a Fair without them.”
For decades, both Gary and Muriel have been actively involved in numerous aspects of the Fair. For 33 years, Gary was the swine superintendent, a position from which he retired in 2011. The Fair has been a part of Gary’s life since he was eight years old as a 4-H youth exhibitor. In the 52 years since, he has missed the Eastern Idaho State Fair only three times, when he was away in college. As swine superintendent, Gary also has been involved with the 4-H Market Hog Sale, ensuring delivery of the hogs and overall floor responsibility. Through the years, he and Muriel have continued to exhibit products from their 300-acre farm, including swine and malt barley. He has helped the agriculture exhibit areas by laying the grain sheaves.
“It is a real honor for Muriel and me to represent the Fair as grand marshals. I look forward to seeing the parade this year since I won’t be responsible for the pigs as I’ve always been in years past,” said Gary. “Every year, I enjoy the Dutch Oven cooking barbeque dinner at the Fair, so I’m looking forward to that, as well.”
Outside of the Fair, Gary is former president of the Southeast Idaho Pork Producers Association. In 1986, he was recognized as Idaho’s up-and-coming pork producer and represented the state of Idaho at the National Pork Producers Council.
For 43 years, Gary served as a 4-H leader in his community, including president and secretary of the 4-H Bingham County Council; Muriel also has served in 4-H leadership for 29 years. He also is president of the Bingham County Farm Bureau.
Originally from Coeur d’Alene, Muriel first experienced the Fair in 1974, soon after she and Gary were married. Muriel began exhibiting swine alongside Gary, and she later exhibited in the quilting and baking categories.
As a substitute teacher with an interest in educating children, Muriel has brought “fun” to the swine department. For youth, she created an educational packet with pork-related games and activities designed to teach kids about the pork industry. Alongside Gary, Muriel has been responsible for the swine department’s bookkeeping; each year, fairgoers and exhibitors enjoy her signature “Pig Sugar Cookies,” which she bakes from a favorite recipe.
“It’s such an honor for us to represent Eastern Idaho in being the grand marshals,” said Muriel. “I look forward to seeing other parts of the Fair this year, including the parade, which I’ve missed for at least 10 years. And I can’t wait for the giant turkey legs and the trout and fries from Aberdeen’s.”
Each year, hundreds of spectators and fairgoers gather along Shilling Avenue to watch the parade travel from Rich Street to East Alice Street. For spectators and over 125 entry participants alike, the parade brings tradition and hometown fun on opening day of the 2012 Eastern Idaho State Fair – which runs Saturday, Sept. 1, through Saturday, Sept. 8.
Complete schedules and 2012 Fair information can be found at www.funatthefair.com or by calling (208) 785-2480.