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EISF Names Family Trio as 2023 Grand Marshals

EISF Names Family Trio as 2023 Grand Marshals

Published online: Jul 21, 2023 Best of IF, Discover Idaho Falls
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The Eastern Idaho State Fair has chosen an incredible trio as the grand marshals of its annual celebration: Barry Adams, Gary Adams, and Amy Gough.

Meet the Adams (and Gough) family: determined, passionate, and deeply rooted in the Eastern Idaho State Fair community.  As lifelong employees, volunteers, and patrons of the Fair, their dedication and love have made a huge difference for fairgoers year after year, always behind the scenes.  Now, they have been chosen to represent the spirit of the Fair as the grand marshals—a recognition for their contributions.

The Eastern Idaho State Fair has a tradition of appointing a grand marshal who serves as an ambassador, representing the Fair's values, heritage, and community.  This role honors those who contributed significantly to the Fair and the community.

Barry and Gary are brothers who were born and raised in Blackfoot, ID.  Amy is Gary's daughter.  Beyond this trio, the family ties to the Eastern Idaho State Fair run deep.

"When we were younger, our dad worked the fair taking tickets.  He would collect Mom and Grandma to go to the horse races to bet quarters," says Barry. “I’ve never told anyone this but I rode in the fair parade with my sister on horseback when I was very young.”

Their uncle Hyrum Adams was the Fairgrounds Superintendent for several years.  Barry worked as a contractor building displays and pouring cement.  When his uncle retired, Barry applied for the superintendent position and was eventually hired, holding the job for over 30 years until retiring in 2021.

"Over 30 years, most of the repairs, improvements, and large projects benefited from Barry's skill and hard work.  The Fair had one of the best Grounds Superintendents in the fair business for three decades, and it showed in the care and maintenance of the grounds.  Behind every great Fair, there are talented people like Barry,” says Brandon Bird, General Manager. “Barry's legacy will live on probably beyond his lifetime.”

Every project and improvement on the grounds is a product of the knowledge, skill, and determination of Barry.  One of those vast projects was updating the food booths under the Grandstand in 2002.  Barry led the effort to update those spaces to meet the building codes of its day.  Without Barry's construction experience and leadership, it couldn't have been done, and it has since been the loved location for Tiger Ears and Scone Nuggets.

Gary Adams and Amy Gough were selected for their contribution to the Eastern Idaho State Fair Parade.  The father-daughter duo co-chaired the planning committee for several years, with their involvement spanning decades.  The EISF Parade is a tradition, starting on the first Saturday of the fair, beginning on the corner of Rich and Shilling Streets and heading towards the fairgrounds.  This historic parade features over 100 entries, including livestock, school groups, and full-blown floats.

"I love the marching bands," says Amy.  "The music helps make it feel like a parade.  I wish we had more schools!  And the Casino always goes all out with an impressive float each year."

Behind the scenes of the parade is a team of volunteers that Gary and Amy organized.  The duo had the time-consuming job of ordering ribbons, collecting entry forms, organizing the lineup exhibits in a way that keeps it fresh year after year, and much more.

"We put a lot of thought into the order because you have to separate similar entries to make sure it flows and that it's different from the previous year," said Amy.  "And you have to make sure that if someone belongs to multiple organizations, like a cheer team and the band, they are far enough apart that the person can finish with one and then go back to the start to do it again."

In one instance, a participant sang the national anthem on one float, circled back on a second float to sing again, and then joined the American Legion to sing "America the Beautiful" to close the parade.  The Adams/Gough team worked to make this request possible out of a passion to serve their community.

"We were always raised to serve our community and do our civic duty," says Gary.  "I've worked on the parade because I wanted to do it, and it was even better that I got to do it with family.  But the honor of being Grand Marshal is an acknowledgment that people noticed.  We're proud of the parade."

"The parade is a reflection of our community in eastern Idaho.  Gary and Amy have volunteered tirelessly to produce one of the great traditions of the Fair," says Bird.

The Adams/Gough family have put in decades worth of work that mainly went unseen by the public because things just ran smoothly.  Their contributions have often come in forms that the EISF crowds will never realize.  That's precisely why they've been chosen for this honor.

"I'm proud of our community service, and I'm grateful my dad always taught me you get what you give," says Amy.  "I'm most proud of this recognition because it puts me in the company of two great men who have accomplished so much."

Make sure to check out the parade this year on Saturday, September 2nd, at 10 a.m.  While Amy and Gary won't be the ones organizing it, the honor will stay in the family as Gary's daughter, Kayla, will carry on this great family tradition.  The Eastern Idaho State Fair will run September 1st through the 9th in Blackfoot, Idaho. 


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