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Fair exhibits winning ways

Glenn Carlton, executive director of the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, is known for his dedication, and that’s one of the reasons why we were so pleased to hear that he had received the Professional of the Year award from the Texas Association of Fairs and Events.

The award is well-deserved because few people have worked harder than Carlton has to make the North Texas Fair and Rodeo the successful operation that it is today.

Plus, Carl Anderson, president of the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, told us that the honor was made all the more special because Carlton was nominated by a major competitor, the president and CEO of the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo in Waco.

“There are people who have been in the fair business for 50 years and never win that award, so it’s a huge honor for him and it’s a huge honor for us out there,” Anderson said. “The whole thing about Glenn is that he lives, breathes and eats this — he lives for this job. You couldn’t meet anyone in America who is made more for their job than Glenn is.”

Carlton was named the winner and received the award at the association’s recent convention in San Antonio. The North Texas Fair and Rodeo also won the top award for marketing.

The timing for the award coincided with the most successful fair to date, Anderson said. Because of good weather and event improvements, attendance was up 20 percent from the previous year with more than 150,000 people coming to Denton for the nine-day fair in August.

The fair placed in the top three of 11 categories in marketing materials, earning it the top spot overall for the marketing plan. Awards included four first-place awards, four second-place awards and four third-place awards.

It was an impressive showing, especially since the fair only has two full-time employees, Carlton and his executive assistant, Nanci Kimmey. Other fairs have entire marketing departments, which is what made earning this level of recognition so gratifying, Anderson said.

“We have over 300 volunteers, but we only have two actually full-time employed,” he said. “For them to be able to do what they do is incredible.”

Sweeping awards in the marketing competition this year helped the North Texas Fair and Rodeo build on a winning tradition.

“The best overall is something we used to never even get close to, but we’ve really stepped it up and have won four out of the past five years,” he said.

The North Texas Fair and Rodeo is certainly a traditional winner in the hearts of residents throughout the area, and it’s been that way for years. No other event we know captures the spirit or heritage of Denton County quite so well.

It’s good to see their efforts recognized.