Unionville Fair salutes major volunteer

The annual Unionville Fair is always dedicated to someone, and that honor this year goes to Dave Salomaki. He might not be a household name, but Salomaki has been a major figure in the fair community for decades. The fair’s Board of Directors calls this “Dedication for the dedicated.”

“Dave, as well a host of others, ‘lives’ at the fair starting Wednesday afternoon through Sunday night, so it is very time-consuming,” said Bonnie Musser of the Unionville Community Fair Board of Directors. “Dave stands out to receive this honor because he has been doing this since about 1990. And I believe he wrote one of the earlier programs to get us into the full computer age.”

Salomaki is the awards director for the fair, and, Musser said, he’s quite efficient.

“He is one of those workers that shows up to do his job efficiently and without grumbling, most of the time behind the scenes.  The winners can pick up their premium checks on Sunday night, and if Dave and his committee had not done their jobs, we would have a riot on our hands,” she said.

Dave Salomaki

Dave Salomaki

Salomaki was working for Hewlett-Packard when he moved into the area in 1984. A co-worker, Fred Rowland, was the director of awards at the time and Salomaki helped him out. Rowland retired in 1990, Salomaki took over and has been filling the role for 25 years.

Musser credits him with working countless hours, virtually living at his computer to make sure everything is accounted for properly. In the beginning, he was constantly traveling back and forth from the fair to his office at Hewlett-Packard to make the needed entries.

“Dave is the consummate volunteer,” Musser added. “He is on the board of directors for the United Way of Southern Chester County, a judge in DE FIRST Lego League competition, a poll worker for East Marlborough Township, sings in the choir and is in the handbell choir at Calvary Lutheran Church in West Chester. He has served on the boards of the Unionville Ice Hockey League and West Chester Red Cross and has volunteered for Chadds Ford Days.”

Salomaki said he was “stunned” when he learned this year’s fair would be dedicated to him.

“Bonnie made several overtures to ensure that I would be able to attend the meeting last Wednesday, even if I had to juggle my schedule and attend late (which did happen)…When the discussion suddenly turned to the fair dedication, I wondered who would get it this year. Never in a million years would I have anticipated the answer,” he said.

In his 25-year involvement was director of awards, he said the one thing that stands out is the time the fair moved from Unionville High School to the grounds at Willowdale. He called it “One event, one ongoing delight.”

“It seemed that there was an ongoing tension between the needs of the high school programs and the needs of the Fair.  Moving to Willowdale, and having entries displayed in the “Red Barn,” seems like a return to the roots of the Unionville Community Fair…The ongoing delight is the children who enter. It is heartwarming to see the enthusiasm as they come in on entry night with their fruits & vegetables, Lego creations, drawings & pictures

This year’s Unionville Community Fair is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, Oct. 2, 3 and 4. A schedule can be found here.


About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



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