It is with great pleasure that the Bedford County Fair Board dedicates the 2017 Bedford County Fair Premium Book to Jill Eichelberger Bailey.
Jill Eichelberger Bailey grew up with a family tradition and legacy of involvement in the Bedford County Fair. Jill's friends and family totally understood the dynamics of the fair business, and interacted with the carnival and show people that, for five decades, entertained multitudes of patrons at the annual local event. Jill's grandfather, William Brice Jr., and his brother, A.C. Bud Brice, skillfully operated the Bedford Fair. Beginning in the early 1920's and until the early 50's, they guided the fair through the Great Depression years, and the Second World War…no small feat considering the challenges they faced. In the early 1950's her parents, Jean and Richard Eichelberger, took the reins and successfully guided the fair during many of its glory years into the late 60's. And there was Jill; always eager to serve her family in any capacity that required the talents of an enthusiastic young lady. She filled a variety of roles in the fair office, including selling tickets, processing entries, and selling advertising for the programs. Jill and her cousin, Judy Goodrich, worked together each summer at the fair and learned to understand and respect the variety of personalities that make up a county fair. Jill's easy going personality endeared her to many of the top entertainers, including well known thrill show stuntman, Joie Chitwood Jr., and rail road carnival operator James E. Strate.
Her artistic talents surfaced during her freshman year in college when she wrote a musical stage production named, Satellite Spectacular. Well known east coast promoter, George Hamid, read the stage revue and immediately contracted Jill to supervise the production. She accepted the responsibility by designing many of the costumes and creating much of the backdrop scenery and props used in the show. The Satellite Spectacular not only played the Bedford Fair that summer, but was also booked into all of Hamid's state and county fairs across the country. To this day, that 1958 show may very well be the most sensational production that has ever appeared on the Bedford stage.
Perhaps only the most diehard local fair followers and a hand full of old timers remember the enormous contributions that Jill and her family provided to our local fair. It was our good fortune that Jill inherited her family's first love, the Bedford County Fair. It is with this in mind that the Board of Directors want to acknowledge Jill Eichelberger Bailey by dedicating this year's tabloid in her Honor.