Editorial: Thank you, Rachael
It’s difficult for most of us to envision, when we toss aside an apple core, the majestic tree that one day could sprout from that seed.
Rachael Burnette has that vision. And she has the patience and willingness to put in the hard work necessary to turn that vision into reality.
For 40 years, Rachael has carefully nurtured the Gloucester County Fair into the celebration it is today. At the same time, she knew that the fair would one day have its own permanent home, a park that could be used by county residents year-round.
That was the goal when the county fair association was reorganized back in 1970. Five years later, the group purchased about 30 acres in Ark. But buying the land was only part of the struggle. For many years, while the fair was held at Page Middle School, money was put aside for the improvements necessary to turn a wooded lot into the county’s fairground.
In 2005, Rachael was finally able to bring the fair to its new home. Now the fair has a place to grow, with room for a permanent exhibits building and other improvements. And Gloucester has a place to come together as friends and neighbors, even if it’s only for one weekend a year.
"My philosophy is to do my part," Rachael said in a 1990 interview, after being chosen to lead the Gloucester Christmas Parade. "I enjoy working with civic organizations and I just feel that everyone should do their part."
Rachael certainly has done her part. Now that the time has come for her to pass the mantle, we only hope the next fair association president shares her philosophy.