(The above photo was scanned from the Friday, August 29th Edition of The Burlington Free Press)

ESSEX JUNCTION-Ray Jenkins thought he was just going about a normal day of work Thursday as maintenance supervisor on the Champlain Valley Exposition fairgrounds. A big surprise was waiting for him at 2 p.m. when he arrived at the new maintenance building just inside Gate B.

Jenkins, 97, found co-workers, friends, family and Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas gathered to honor the maintenance supervisor's 24 years of work for the exposition.

Before the ceremony was under way, Jenkins was seated ncxt to Edna Jenkins, his wife of 66 years. His son Bob Jenkins and daughter Carole Jenkins, both of whom also work for the exposition, were among the well-wishers at the ceremony.
Exposition General Manager Dave Grimm got right to the point, naming the new, 40-by-60-foot building the H.F. "Ray" Jenkins Maintenance Facility.

(The above photo was scanned from the Friday, August 29th Edition of The Burlington Free Press)

Bob Jenkins said his father has always been known as Ray, a shortened form of Horatio.

During the dedication ceremony, the governor and exposition officials spoke about Jenkins' contributions to the fair.

"You are an inspiration to all of us," Exposition President Jane Clifford said, refcrring to the fact that Jenkins began working for the exposition at age 73 in 1979.

After being presented with a plaque, Jenkins seemed to have recovered from the initial surprise.

"It's too bad I didn't take up public speaking," he joked, before thanking his co-workers and exposition board members. "I consider this a great honor," he said.

Jenkins who was born in 1906 in Amenia, N.Y., has worn many hats.

Before beginning work as an engineer with General Electric during the 1940s, Jenkins was a mortician's assistant, chauffeur and policeman, and ran a bake shop with his wife in Chatham N.Y.

Jenkins began working for IBM in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1952 and was transferred to the Essex Junction plant in 1957.

After retiring from IBM in 1971, Jenkins spent about eight years pursuing his hobbies, among them coin collecting, fishing, playing cards and bowling.

Hobbies were not enough for Jenkins so he began doing odd jobs on the exposition grounds. Gradually his work turned into the full-time position he holds.

Jenkins said the new building, which is large enough to store maintenance equipment year-round, will make upkeep of the fairgrounds much easier.

"This is a godsend," he said.


Certified dietician Maryann Ludlow examines fried dough with various toppings at the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex Junction on Thursday. She says moderation is the best strategy when indulging in fair food. (I would have been happy to give my comments on a lot of the Fair Food - Unfortunately I didn't have any room left for the Philly Cheese Steaks or the Bloomin' Onion)
(The above photo was scanned from the Friday, August 29th Edition of The Burlington Free Press)






Corn on the cob without much butter

Maple Candy

Bloomin' Onion

I would have tried the Bloomin' Onion, but after taste testing the items below had no room left

Baked Potato, light on toppings

Caramel apples

Fried Pizza dough

The Fried Pizza dough was delicious - After all what's wrong with bread fried in low chlorestol vegetable oil???? - Didn't check out the Baked Potato or Caramel Apples - Wanted to try the Philly Cheese Steaks and did get to the Mr. Sausage which they didn't evaluate - however, they were delicious


Cotton Candy

Maple Creemee

The Maple Creemee was delicious - didn't check out the Popcorn or Cotton Candy as I had to save room for the Maple Frosted Doughnuts


Elaine Kirkpatrick of Fairfax (left) admires gladiolas with her neighbor Sheila Newton at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction on Thursday
(The above photo was scanned from the Friday, August 29, 2003 edition of the Burlington Free Press)