By Melody Vallieu
Editor, Miami Valley Today
PLEASANT HILL — An annual celebration of autumn coming to Newton schools is not only a fun event, but a lesson to be learned.
The Newton Fall Fair, in its 89th year, will be held beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. The annual event, sponsored by the Newton-UVCC FFA, is a time for students and community members to display garden produce, field crops, shop projects, tractors, and other agriculture items, according to Curtis Shellenberger, president of the Newton-UVCC FFA. According to Shellenberger, all proceeds from the the fair go back into the school and community.
Shellenberger said he believes the fall fair also is an important reminder of agriculture in today’s society.
“It is very important to keep the public educated about agriculture, because the average person continues to be further removed from the farm every generation,” he said. “People want to know where their food comes from, and it is our job to educate them.
“Many students will bring animals in to educate the community and younger students about livestock. Art work, canned goods, baked goods, sewing projects and more can be exhibited in the homemakers division,” Shellenberger said.
A pulled pork dinner also will be offered from 5-7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria. Each high school class and all of the clubs will set up vendor booths with games or food as fundraisers, he said. Other events will include a kiddie tractor pull and Newton Band performance.
Shellenberger, who is in charge of the agriculture section of the event and the Class Challenge, said the challenge will be the finale of the event beginning at 7:45 p.m. in the high school gym. He said the Class Challenge is where each high school class, grades ninth through 12th, select four male and four female representatives to compete as a team in a series of games and events.
“One classic game that we always end with is musical chairs where contestants must be dancing to the music at all times,” said Shellenberger, who thanked advisers Kreg McCullough and Patsy Burnside for their help. “At the end, the team with the most points wins. There is no award unless you count bragging rights!”
Shellenberger, who said sharing his passion for agriculture with others, especially the elementary kids, will bring a calf for children to look at and pet.
“During the school day, I will use this calf to educate the elementary kids about dairy cows and farming,” said Shellenberger, who said he also will enter agricultural items. “My brother, Clint, will do the same thing with goats, and many other FFA members will bring their animals in for the same reason.”
He said all FFA members will enter items into the fair including garden produce, fruits, field crops, shop projects, decorated pumpkins, tractors, and more. He said entries also will include sewing items, photos/art, canned goods, baked goods, and more in the homemaker (FCCLA) division.
Shellenberger said the fall fair is something enjoyed by the students, staff and the community each year.
“This a great event that has been going for a long time. The students and community always anticipate it. Whether they enjoy entering items in the fair, walking around and meeting up with old friends, eating pulled pork dinners, watching their kids/grandkids compete in the kiddie tractor pull or class challenge, everyone loves it,” he said. “Students might be working a booth with friends or just having fun and enjoying the fair.”
Entries are open to all those in the school district, and many community members join in the event, according to Shellenberger.
”It is amazing to see the back of the school just packed with people for this event. It really shows how much they care about the event and our community,” he said.
Shellenberger said the fall fair is a largely student-run event, with the help of advisers, and as a senior he is glad he had the opportunity to make and impact on the event.
“I will look forward to coming back to this event post-graduation for years to come,” he said.