Each year the L.A. County Fair honors Community Heroes – young adults and adults – from 18 surrounding cities during the 23 days of the Fair, Sept. 4 – Oct. 3. Wednesday, Sept. 22 is La Verne Day at the Fair, a day to celebrate the work of volunteers, humanitarians, students, neighbors and community organizations to make their city a better place to live.
La Verne Day festivities include a parade at 5 p.m. down Broadway featuring community groups and bands. At 5:30 p.m., a presentation will be held to honor La Verne’s Junior Hero for 2010, Megan Baker, on the Building 4 Stage. Also, the City of La Verne will honor Connie LaMarche, who received the city’s Jack Huntington Pride of La Verne Award; Jim Hundshamer, recipient of the Jim Scranton Pride of La Verne Award; and Willard Umland, the city’s Older Americans Recognition Day Award winner.
Junior Hero Megan Baker is involved in Bonita High School’s Key Club, where she is president. She organizes volunteers for various community and senior citizen events at the La Verne Community Center and throughout the community. “Megan shows great maturity in her leadership,” states Nikole Bresciani, La Verne Community Services supervisor. “She has worked tirelessly with the Key Club to make community events a success. I truly feel La Verne community events have been stronger each year due to Megan’s involvement.”
Connie La Marche, Jack Huntington Pride of La Verne Award recipient, has lived in La Verne for 35 years. He has organized the “Cruisin’ La Verne” Holiday Car Show in conjunction with the Spark of Love Toy Drive for the past 12 years. Using his time and personal resources, he has typically responsible for an estimated 500 toys each Christmas that are given to underprivileged children in La Verne. “He and his son Lee share an interest in classic cars and street rods and have parlayed that interest into helping less fortunate children,” states La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick.
Jim Hundshamer, recipient of the Jim Scranton Pride of La Verne Award, met Scranton when he became involved with the La Verne Lazers Soccer Club. Though Hundshamer’s children have not played for the Lazers for years, he continues to lead the club and keeps it organized financially as its treasurer. “His positive spirit and sound decisions helped keep the Club together throughout the time after Jim Scranton passed away,” noted Mayor Kendrick. Hundshamer has also coached in the city’s youth basketball league and AYSO, as well as being involved in the Roynton and Ramona PTAs and Pack 462 Cub Scouts. “His passion for life and strong spirit continues to show through his constant support of our organizations and so many others.”
Willard Umland has been a member of the La Verne Heritage Foundation for 21 years, serving as vice president until 2008. He helped restore the historic Weber House (built in the 1880s) when it was moved to its present location in 1989. He helped recruit “Barn Boys” who meet and work at Heritage Park. Umland also helps at the Summer Concerts in the Park, where he sells raffle tickets and helps set up the concert.
La Verne residents, friends, family and supporters can join their community celebration on Sept. 22 for just $5 before 5 p.m. with a coupon or voucher available at lacountyfair.com. Coupons are also available at the La Verne Chamber of Commerce, City Hall and other community locations. Come for the Fair; stay for the community festivities: parade at 5 p.m. and hero presentation at 5:30 p.m.
The L.A. County Fair opens Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4 – 6 and then Wednesday – Sunday, Sept. 8 – Oct. 3, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Live thoroughbred horse racing at Fairplex Park will be Sept. 9 – Sept. 27, dark Mondays Sept. 13, 20 and Tuesdays.
For information about ways to save at the Fair, visit lacountyfair.com.
Under the direction of the Los Angeles County Fair Association, Fairplex is home to the L.A. County Fair, the largest county fair in the world, as well as The Learning Centers which encompasses Fairtime Learning, The Child Development Center, The Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC), the Junior Fair Board, and the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts. Fairplex also operates a diverse hospitality business with the Sheraton Fairplex, McKinley’s Grille, KOA RV Park, Finish Line Sports Grill, Cornucopia Foods, and the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center (opening 2011). The campus is also home to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona; horse-racing and Barretts Equine Limited; as well as the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. For more information, please visit www.fairplex.com.