Walt and Willene Smith pulled the Northern Gila County Fair in Pine out of debt more than a decade ago, and now it rakes in more than $30,000 for local schools each year. It was quite a feat, but the Smiths were up to it.
Now, things are different.
"We're getting old," Walt said. "We're looking for leaders who will let us teach them how to run this thing.
"It's not that hard, because we've got it pretty well-organized. It's somebody else's turn, though.
"But we won't quit without finding replacements," he said. "We want to bow out gracefully, not abandon the fair."
The Smiths are looking for volunteers of any age who have a sense of commitment to the community, and with good communication and people skills.
Volunteers can choose between gathering advertisers, organizing vendors, or working on-site when the fair comes to town Sept. 14, 15 and 16.
"It's just a great fair," Walt said. "It's old-fashioned, homemade, homespun and home-grown."
Willene added, "And that's the way we want to keep it!"
The Northern Gila County Fair has won a number of awards, and many people think it's one of the best fairs in the state, Walt said.
"We've got a terrific photography exhibit, and a great bonsai exhibit, too," he added.
The couple has been told repeatedly that the fair would fizzle up and die without their support, but they think that is ridiculous.
"No one is irreplaceable," Walt said.
"But now is the time for people to jump in, because we might not be able to teach them how to run it a few years down the line as well as we could now."
Anyone interested in volunteering can call Walt or Willene at 476-3587.