Three Door County delegates will be introduced at the opening of the International Ceramics Festival in the county’s sister city, Jingdezhen, China, on Oct. 18.
The three Door County delegates were revealed this week, and include Helen Bacon and the husband-wife team of Tricia Croyle and John Rybski. The three applied through the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) to become delegates. Delegates must pay for their travel to and from China, but the rest of the expenses during their stay are paid for by the City of Jingdezhen.
“We had about a couple dozen inquiries, people showing interest in participating,” said Bill Chaudoir, executive director of the DCEDC. “Unfortunately, Door County is still very busy that weekend, so three-quarters of the folks could not do it given the timing. But we have a very good delegation of three people.”
Helen Bacon is the leader of the delegation, and she set out for China on Oct. 8.
“Helen is a retired health care professional. She worked for Ministry and led home health in recent years,” Chaudoir said. “That’s great because our sister city specifically asked for someone representing the local health care. She has a son in Shanghai who teaches at the university, she left early to spend some time with her son.”
Bacon will also be staying an extra three weeks to take part in an all-expenses paid three-week scholarship to study at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute. The institute will provide two of these scholarships per month to any Door County resident.
“Helen is the first Door County resident to take advantage of this,” Chaudoir said. “She’s our guinea pig. When she comes back we’ll be able to learn more about it.”
Delegate Tricia Croyle is a retired architect and teacher at NWTC in Green Bay.
“It’s really cool she’s involved,” Chaudoir said, explaining that Jingdezhen is redeveloping a former ceramic factory district into commercial uses, and wants to include a public square honoring sister city Door County.
“They invited us to provide design to reflect our architecture and our culture. Tricia stepped up as a team of two,” Chaudoir said.
The other design team member is Greg Meissner of Meissner Landscape.
“They have been working the last few months on a design concept for the square,” Chaudoir said.
The third member of the delegation is Croyle’s husband, John Rybski.
“Tricia and John are big world travelers, both were in Peace Corps and they’ve been to China before,” Chaudoir said. “John’s special interest is in music. He’s involved in the local music scene. He plays guitar. He’s excited to interact with the local music scene in Jingdezhen. He’s also active in the Door County Maritime Museum. He plans to visit a very cool ceramic museum and maybe start a relationship with the Maritime Museum.”
Also in the works, Chaudoir said some Chinese friends in Jingdezhen are thinking of investing in a store dedicated to Door County products. That idea is still in the very early stages, however, Chaudoir said, “If that happens, then on this end it will mean hooking them up with local businesses who can supply product and technical advice.”