UNION CITY – The Mississinawa Valley FFA Chapter held its 49th annual Fall Fair on Thursday.
Members of the Union City chapter sold tickets for a chicken dinner prior to the event. More than 2,000 dinners were sold, according to Zeb Hannan, a student at Mississinawa Valley and sentinel of the FFA chapter.
Members also collected monetary donations for the Fall Fair ad booklet, in which all FFA donors are listed. All proceeds will go toward supporting the cost of leadership conferences, registration for career development contests and other FFA activities.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and the community really comes out and supports us,” Hannan said.
All members of the Mississinawa Valley chapter also had exhibits on display in the school’s Agricultural Department building. Exhibits were diverse, including items such as baked goods, flower arrangements, ornately decorated pumpkins, model farmhouses and wooden swords.
Overall winners for this year’s exhibits were Brianna Fennig, with 154 points; Kennedy Stachler, with 108 points; Daisy Brim, with 101 points; Grant Stachler, with 98 points; and Jacob Dircksen, with 94 points. FFA officers worked with judges, mostly local experts from the within the community, to place each class and calculate the winners.
Faculty adviser Carmen Hartzell was impressed with the work her students put in during this year’s Fall Fair.
“With hard-working students and a few key volunteers, this was the smoothest-running fair that I have been a part of,” Hartzell said. “Justin Miller was our lead officer for the event this year, and he did a fantastic job of getting the ship ready to sail. Meanwhile, FFA alumni Jeff Keller and Kyle Bueter led the chicken-cooking crew of eight students. They cooked chicken from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.”
The students cooked 1,680 halves of chicken and served 1,924 meals, according to Hartzell. Meanwhile, math teacher and FFA advisor Gwen Bergman led a crew called Tater Transport, which used 40 roasters borrowed from members of the community to cook 2,000 baked potatoes. Other students and alumni prepared ham, green beans and applesauce. Senior FFA member Daisy Brim led the pie room, baking more than 2,100 pieces of Wick’s pies.
“It really takes the effort of all of our FFA members to pull this event off,” Hartzell said. “There is always a moment where, as their teacher, I find myself just watching them with pride as they work and hustle to feed 2,000 people in two hours. At the end of the night, I knew that my new students — the ones who are in their first month of agriculture class, and could potentially stay in for five years — knew they belong to an organization that works together to get the job done, and they know how much their community supports them.”
The Mississinawa Valley FFA Chapter is run in cooperation with the Miami Valley Career Technology Center. The chapter includes more than 80 high school and middle school students, and its members have been involved in a number of activities recently, including driving tractors to school in a bid to spread tractor safety awareness and attending the Ohio State FFA Convention in Columbus where their chapter received a Gold Medal Award and was recognized as being among the top 10 percent of FFA organizations in Ohio.