By Emma Duncan--Eagle Staff Writer
Since 2014, the Franklin County Agricultural Fair has attracted hundreds of people to its rides, vendors,
and contests every September.
At least, it used to be every September.
This year, the Ag Fair has been cancelled
due to COVID-19.
Fair Chairman David Rotenizer explained in a statement.
“With so much uncertainty regarding public health and safety for large group gatherings, along with logistics for maintaining social distancing and sanitation, this was an unfortunate but required action,” Rotenizer said.
Senior and Future Farmers of America (FFA) Officer Sadie Sheppard wasn’t happy to hear this news, as this is her final year of being in FFA.
“When I found out the fair was cancelled I was so sad,” Sheppard explained. “The Ag Fair is a great opportunity.”
She wasn’t alone in her disappointment.
“I really hate that the fair was cancelled but understand the safety concerns,” said Kasey Arrington, agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor. “It was a great chance for FFA kids to reach out, advocate for agriculture, and educate more folks about what farms and farmers in our area do.”
Jean Capps, agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor, further explained what FFA does at the Ag Fair.
“Members would create the various booths pertaining to Agriculture (dairy, beef, poultry, crops, horses, sheep, swine, FFA, and classes taught),” Capps explained. “FFA members and students would create speeches pertaining to their booth and teach elementary students about the different topics.”
The fair usually lasts three days, but preparation can take weeks. Now that FFA doesn’t have to worry about planning for the fair, they have some free time on their hands. Unsure how the club was going to fill its schedule, agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor Steven Janoschka came up with an idea.
“Our involvement in the Ag Fair is more or less a community service project for our members, much like our 'Food for America' program we hold each year for the county 4th graders,” Janoschka explained. “If given the opportunity to hold that event this year, it will easily ‘make up’ for lost time at the Ag Fair.”
It’s unknown whether or not the fair will return in 2021. Nonetheless, Sheppard believes the FFA will overcome any other obstacles thrown their way.
“Hopefully we’re going to expand our horizons, of course within reason, and make the best out of this year and years to come,” she said. “It’s times like this that nobody does it better than FFA.”