Long around fair, now Brunner’s behind scenes
Rose Brunner remembers coming to the Pierce County Fair when she was growing up.
As a member of the Rock Elm Skyrockets, Brunner submitted entries in sewing, crocheting, crafts and baking, she said. More recently, her children have shown animals, including a son bringing steers and two daughters with pigs.
Brunner said she first got a taste of fair management last year.
“I helped with ticket taking and parking cars,” she said.
The Elmwood native was then approached about serving as this year’s summer assistant in the fair office. She began her duties in June, which at least initially involved entering all of the entry forms into a data system. A lot of cross-checking had to be done.
“There are over 11,000 exhibits at the fair,” she said, noting otherwise she’s acted as a “go-to” person.
While still in school, the Elmwood High School graduate was fond of athletics and music, especially band and choir, she said. She played both the clarinet and saxophone.
Today, the daughter of Joel Hartung has siblings in this area: Mary in Neillsville, Paul in Menomonie and Joanie in Beldenville, as well as Rita, a college chancellor in Carbondale, Ill.
After graduating, Brunner attended Viterbo College in La Crosse, studying elementary education, she said. She took a teaching job in first grade at Auburndale for a year. Since then, she’s taught in the Durand School District, typically having 17 students in the third grade classes she teaches in Arkansaw.
The 27-year veteran teacher said she met her then-future husband Jeff while they were in high school. He’s employed at Marron Foods in Durand; their son is Michael, in a rotation for physical therapy while at UW-La Crosse, and their daughters are Amanda and McKayla, in business and Spanish at Southwest Minnesota State in Marshal, Minn., and in business management and education at UW-Stout in Menomonie, respectively.
Brunner’s been helping all three with their college, so welcomed the fair assistant opportunity, she said. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and exercising. Her goal is to run a half-marathon, likely in Eau Claire.