It’s easy for Ivan Rose to explain why he has been part of the Crawford County Fair Board for more than three decades.
Rose, 87, has served on the volunteer fair board for 33 years but will step down from the board when his current five-year appointment by county commissioners expires Dec. 31.
In October, Rose informed the board he planned not to seek reappointment. Rose will remain an ex officio member of the board, attending fair board meetings, but he will have no vote.
At Thursday’s annual meeting of the Crawford County Fair Board at the Venango Valley Inn, Rose was honored for his long years of service to the board and the fair. He also was the recipient of a citation from the Pennsylvania Senate for his service to the fair.
“It gets in your blood,” Rose said why he has been involved with the fair for so long. “I just liked working with the people and seeing the fair grow.”
Rose, a dairy farmer from the Spartansburg area, had shown Holstein cows at the fair for a number of years prior to joining the fair board.
Rose was appointed president of the fair board in 1980 after he was elected as a county commissioner. Rose served as president of the fair board from 1980 to 1995. Following his retirement as a county commissioner, Rose then served as a fair board member from 1995 to 2013.
In Rose’s more than 30 years of service with the fair board, there were a vast number of improvements to the fairgrounds.
A a 5,000-seat grandstand was built, as was a new main performance stage in front of the grandstand. There were a host of other projects both seen — like new arenas and barns — and those unseen — like utility and drainage improvements — during his tenure.
Rose and his late wife, Grace, themselves donated a pavilion that’s located outside the fair’s main office. He and his wife also initiated the 4-Star Homemaker Award after seeing it at a fair in Florida. The award judges contestants on baking, canned or dried food, clothing and needlecraft.
“There were a lot of improvements at the fair — I was just a small part of it,” Rose said.
Rose’s fellow board members call him a visionary for the fair.
“He is one of the leaders,” said Bill Davis, a 23-year fair board member from the Linesville area. “He’s a person that kept the peace and harmony on projects. He has kept us a true county fair.”
Ron Kerr, a fair board member from the Titusville area, agreed with that assessment of Rose.
“He’s been a true champion of the fair,” Kerr said of Rose. “He’s got a lot of wisdom. He’d look at the whole aspect of the Crawford County Fair with a project. He has helped keep it family oriented and a fair.”
John Lasko, a 15-year fair board member from the Conneautville area, has worked with Rose for decades. Lasko first got to know Rose when Lasko was a volunteer department head at the fair.
“He has had good suggestions for the fair that have worked out very well,” Lasko said.
Lasko said everyone who has ever met Rose likes him because he is so genuine.
“Ivan has always been very positive,” Lasko said. “He’s a person who lives by the example he sets.”
Rose said he’s dedicated to the fair because of the enjoyment it brings to people of all ages.
“I like sitting watching grandparents with the grandkids and watching them enjoy themselves,” Rose said.
Nomination of a replacement for Rose will come from the fair board, possibly in January. His replacement must be approved Crawford County Board of Commissioners, which appoints members to the fair board.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.