VIRGINIA ASSOCIATION OF FAIRS 2021 CONVENTION CANCELED
Now and always, the health and safety of our membership and partners is our top priority. Due to the uncertainty of the evolving COVID-19 situation, on July 13, 2020, the Virginia Association of Fairs board of directors unanimously voted to cancel the 2021 convention. “The impact of COVID 19 on our industry has been devastating. We carefully weighed the financial challenges for our members, along with the ability to hold a successful meeting amidst the COVID 19 situation, and the decision became quite clear,” said Danny Byrum, President.
In recent years, the annual convention has been held at The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA. The hotel and association worked together to find a mutually beneficial solution, and agreed that the meeting will remain at The Homestead in 2022 and 2023. VAF was not penalized financially for the cancellation.
For more than 100 years, our association has worked to strengthen the fair and festival industry in the commonwealth of Virginia. Our hearts are heavy knowing we cannot gather for our annual celebration but know that this fiscally responsible decision will help maintain the stability of our organization. The board is planning educational opportunities for the first and second quarter of 2021. We are committed to consistent communication that will allow all of us to share our successes and challenges. The 2020 VAF Queen will remain in her role for 2021.
With Virginias Fair season underway and quite busy over the next several months, let us hope the weather will support us all, so that we may have the opportunity to execute successful fairs after spending months of planning and preparation.
As most of you probably already know, we announced earlier this year, Joye Wood, our Executive Coordinator is retiring after ten years in that position. Please wish Joye well, as we do, in her retirement. She will be with us through the conference this year mentoring and helping our new Co-Executive Coordinators in their new jobs.
With that being said, we would like to introduce Dawn Burch and Theresa Woodall as the Co-Executive Coordinators. Both have been working in support of the VAF conferences for the last few years. Dawn is the Executive Assistant for the Shenandoah County Fair and Theresa is Chairman of the Agriculture Education Center and Arts/Crafts Chair at the Isle of Wight County Fair. Please wish them well and be patient as they take on their new jobs!!!
Your VAF Board has been working hard and heavy in the planning stages for the 103nd Annual Conference in January at the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. With all your support, we are planning a wonderful conference for you to enjoy and provide you with as much information and education about fairs and events as possible. We certainly look forward to your attendance and intend to provide as many opportunities as we possibly can, for you to network, learn from other fairs and share your experiences from your own fair. There are many outstanding and highly experienced fair people from all over the state that can provide you with information and experiences that can help make your fair an even more successful event.
We also wish to encourage all member fairs to nominate deserving individuals to receive the Fair Person of the Year Award, the Hazel Staley Scholarship Award, and to participate in Youth Scholarship Competitions. These awards and competitions are magnificent opportunities, often overlooked, that recognize deserving people within Virginia fairs.
I sincerely hope every member fair has a successful season this year and am especially looking forward to seeing each of you at the conference in January!!!
Danny Byrum VAF President