After more than 50 years, Schultz works another Rock County 4-H Fair
JANESVILLE—The Rock County 4-H Fair kicked off Tuesday without any major glitches, thanks to many hands working behind the scenes.
Among those people is 87-year-old Clarence Schultz of Janesville, who has worked at the fair for more than 50 years in maintenance, handling garbage and recycling duties. Sitting at a picnic table Tuesday outside the maintenance shed, Schultz held a soda while describing his role at the fair and how things have changed.
WHAT HE DOES: “My biggest job is to keep this place clean and make sure the trash is hauled out,” he said.
Last Thursday and Friday, he ensured that hundreds of trash and recycling containers were set in appropriate places. He works with a crew and rides a four-wheeler to monitor the grounds.
Years ago, he started at 5 a.m. and worked until midnight or later. Nowadays, he arrives at 6:30 a.m. and works into the afternoon.
In the past, he'd move items such as tables and chairs around and set up for shows.
He said it's nice hearing comments about the fair being clean.
WHAT HAS CHANGED: Schultz recalled the days of loading steel barrels full of trash and hauling them to the city dump. Now, Waste Management sweeps through the grounds twice a day to empty the receptacles.
Sit with Schultz for a just a few minutes and you can learn the history of the original buildings on the fairgrounds and which ones have been built more recently.
OUTSIDE THE FAIR: Schultz is also known as “Dutch,” the clown name he took while performing in Wisconsin and Illinois for about 40 years. He traveled with a family circus and at one point was the head clown, he said. He rode elephants and walked in parades.
He also enjoys model trains and loves building scenery. He displays some of his sets, including his ice skating scene, at Rotary Gardens in winter.
“I just love doing that,” he said.
ON HIS DEDICATION: Fair board member Randy Thompson said “Dutch” has never gotten a lot of credit for his dedication to the fair.
“He's been very, very dedicated,” he said.
Thompson called Schultz one of those “unsung heroes.”
“You go to the fair, and you don't notice it unless all of the garbage cans are overflowing,” he said.
“It's an important part of keeping the grounds clean and having a nice clean place for people to come with their kids and families to the fair.”