HAMBURG, NY – Jessica Underberg, CEO & Fair
Manager of the Erie County Agricultural Society, was recently elected as
the 2019 Chair of the International Association of Fairs &
Expositions (IAFE). The appointment took place during the IAFE
Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX. During the course of the year
Underberg will be the spokesperson for the fair industry visiting and
speaking at fairs and events across North America. Underberg becomes
only the second representative from Western New York
to hold this international position following the election of former
Erie County Fair Manager Paul Laing to Chair in 1990.  

In 2017, Jessica was appointed as Chief Executive
Officer & Fair Manager of the Erie County Fair. Her current
responsibilities include all aspects of the 12-month operations of the
270-acre Erie County Fairgrounds. She leads activities
related to the annual Erie County Fair, all non-fair events and
oversees 50 full-time, 15 part-time and over 750 seasonal employees.

Her involvement in the Erie County Fair began in
1985 while participating in various exhibits in the Fair’s Youth
Development Building. Underberg began working for the ECAS in 1996 when
she began working part-time in the Fair’s Administrative
Office. Following graduation from Canisius College in 1998, where she
earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Sciences, she joined the
Society full-time. In 2000 she was named the Fair’s Agriculture and
Competitive Exhibits Manager. 

During Underberg’s tenure as Agricultural Manager,
she drew deep into her own agriculture background having grown up on a
family dairy farm in nearby Collins, New York. In 1999 she created the
Fair’s AgSperience exhibit to bring fairgoers
closer to farmers, their animals and crops. The success of this program
resulted to the development and construction of the Agricultural
Discovery Center in 2014. In 2010 she created the award winning Farm 2
Table educational program with the goal to teach
students about the importance of agriculture in their lives, reinforce
healthy nutrition and to engage their natural curiosity through a
multimodal approach.

She actively participates in a network of
professionals among national and international fair associations. In
2007, Jessica earned her Certified Fair Executive status from the
International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE).
She has served on various IAFE committees and has been elected to
numerous leadership posts including being the IAFE’s Board of Directors
Zone 1 Representative from 2014 to 2016. In 2008 Underberg was on a team
that helped develop the IAFE’s Young Professionals
Initiative as a way to encourage a new generation of leadership among
fairs across the world.

She is a member of the New York State Association
of Agricultural Fairs where she served as the organization’s President
in 2010-2011 and was on the Board of Directors of the Cornell
Cooperative Extension from 2009 to 2011. She represented
the Erie County Fair at the Royal Agricultural Society of the
Commonwealth’s conferences in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2010 and Brisbane,
Australia in 2014. She is a member of Buffalo’s Business First “40 under
40” class of 2014.

Underberg resides in Springville, New York with her husband Mark and her two daughters Lilly and Ella.

About the Erie County Fair

The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private
not-for-profit membership organization. Established in 1819, the Society
is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The mission of
the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS),
sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by
educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New
York State. The Fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the
agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational
needs of Western New York. The 2019 Erie County Fair is scheduled for
August 7th -18th. (

About the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE)

Based in Springfield, Mo., the IAFE is a nonprofit
corporation, serving state, provincial, regional, and county
agricultural fairs, shows, exhibitions, and expositions. Its associate
members include state and provincial associations of
fairs, non-agricultural expositions and festivals, associations,
corporations, and individuals engaged in providing products and services
to its members, all of whom are interested in the improvement of fairs,
shows, expositions, and allied fields. The IAFE
was founded in 1885 with a half dozen fairs as members. Today, over
2,500 fairs, festivals, expositions and suppliers in the United States
and internationally, are members of IAFE.