New fair manager returns to county roots

<I>The Eagle/Tina Cook</I><BR>Mike Bowe and Stephanie Walters hang curtains in the Pavilion for the Juniper Singers Hee Haw Hoedown coming Feb. 25.

JOHN DAY - After moving out of Grant County and living all over the country, Stephanie Walters returned to her roots. She and her husband, Larry, moved here from South Carolina last October. Stephanie became the new fair manager Nov. 1.

"I'm looking forward to being back in the community and giving something back. I loved growing up here and my family has been here for such a long time," Stephanie said.

Stephanie has several goals as the new fair manager. She would like to see the fair maintained to bring in some revenue for the community. She would also like to have the fair be used as a countywide facility, and she would like to have a really successful fair this year where all age groups and parties are represented.

"I'd like it to be good entertainment and good value for everyone," she said.

Her family has been here for at least six generations. She was born in Izee to Patty and the late Bill Hyde. She is the second oldest of four daughters. Colleen Hyde, Piper Stout and Molly Finley are her sisters. She grew up on the Hyde Ranch, which is now the Inshallah. The family raised sheep and cattle. Stephanie's favorite ranch job was haying. She also liked to cook and sew.

She graduated from Grant Union High School in 1973. She was a cheerleader her senior year.

"We had many adventures together. She's always been a really fun person with a positive attitude," said long-time friend Shelley (Johnston) Myers. Shelley and Stephanie have been friends for over 40 years. They went to grade school and high school together and were roommates for a while in college.

Stephanie joined the Marines and spent two years on active duty and two years in the reserve. She met Larry at a Marine Corp Birthday Ball. They lived in Portland and Salem; Carthage, New York; Mobile, Alabama; Neenah, Wisconsin; Loveland, Ohio; and Greenville and Charleston South Carolina.

They have three grown children. Raymie, 28, is a captain in the Army at Fort Benning, Georgia. Zach, 21, is a senior at Purdue University in Indiana, and Kaylee, 19, is a sophomore at the College of Charleston.

Stephanie has a bachelor's degree in management and marketing from the University of Portland. She worked in sales and ran her own business. During the past ten years, she worked in human resources.

She would like to have community input and involvement.

"I value both negative and positive comments," Stephanie said.

Stephanie has had a lot of support from her fellow workers. Vickie Mullin is the administrative assistant and Mike Bowe is the maintenance and grounds technician.

"They have been a great resource for me. I couldn't do it without them," she said.

The Heritage Foundation, Fair Board and the community have also been a great resource for her.

"Stephanie has a heart for Grant County," Vickie Mullin said.

Since taking the job in November, Stephanie has lived, breathed and eaten the fair.

"Since I've been here that's all I've done," she said.

This year, the fair will take place Aug. 22-27. The theme is "Sunny days and Western Ways."

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