Hertel named CEO/Manager of the Clay County Fair

Spencer, Iowa — Fair industry veteran Jerome Hertel has been named the next CEO/Manager of the Clay County Fair Association. Hertel will succeed Jeremy Parsons, who is leaving the Fair & Events Center after nearly 12 years to service to become CEO/Manager of the Iowa State Fair.

“We are excited to announce Jerome Hertel’s selection as the next CEO/Manager of the Fair,” said Steve Waller, chairman of the Clay County Fair Board of Directors. “He brings with him years of fair experience, a solid management reputation, and a strong financial background. Originally from the Midwest, Jerome understands the reputation of ‘The World’s Greatest County Fair’ and will continue to grow and expand the Fair.”

Hertel has 24 years of upper-level management experience in the fair industry, most recently as CEO of the Alaska State Fair since 2014. His experience with county, state, and non-profit fairs also includes stints as the operations director of the Sioux Empire Fair (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and executive director of the South Dakota State Fair from 2008-2014.

“I have always found joy in bringing people together to be educated, to be entertained, to connect with one another, and to celebrate as a community,” he said.

Growing up in the Midwest across the street from the Turner County (S.D.) Fairgrounds, Hertel developed a passion for fairs early on. “My greatest memories growing up included setting up carnival rides, working in the church stand, and taking in every day of the fair that I could,” he said.

After graduating from the University of South Dakota with a degree in business management, Hertel started a career in the food and beverage industry with a large sports arena in Houston, Texas. He later became the food and beverage director for the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center in the 1990s before moving into the fair industry in 1999.

He and his wife Stephanie, a school teacher, have two grown children and five grandchildren who think Grandpa has the greatest job in the world.

Hertel’s first day on the job will be April 17.

About The Clay County Fair & Events Center Rooted in Tradition, the Clay County Fair and Events Center is a year-round facility that annually hosts more than 300 events, including its signature event, the Clay County Fair powered by SMU. Known as “The World’s Greatest County Fair” since 1917, the Clay County Fair attracts more than 325,000 guests each September for nine-days of world-class entertainment, competition, food, fun, and the largest farm machinery show at any fair in the United States. Additional information can be found at claycountyfair.com.