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All things fall and FFA found in Pine Plains at annual Ag Fair

PINE PLAINS — Whether they were a rising member of the Pine Plains FFA, a longtime supporter of the local FFA chapter or a resident of Pine Plains, it was undoubtedly worth the wait to see the community brought together again by a long-standing tradition — the Pine Plains FFA’s annual Fall Agricultural Fair, held on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The main Ag Fair festivities on Saturday were preceded by a dairy showmanship event for fourth- and fifth-grade students on Friday, Oct. 8, and a field day for middle and high school students also on the 8th.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Ag Fair didn’t include the traditional roast beef dinner. Last year’s entire fair had been canceled.

The crackling community excitement leading up to the fair was amplified on Saturday morning by the spectacular turnout of people who lined sidewalks in anticipation of the annual parade at 9:30 a.m. as well as the bleachers to watch the tractor pull on the lawn in front of the Stissing Mountain Junior/Senior High School.

With a float of FFA members leading the way, the parade rang in the morning as it made its grand arrival through town toward the school, featuring local representatives, tractors, a pair of oxen towing a cart and the Stissing Mountain Band. As the last parade vehicle turned the corner toward campus, spectators made their way toward the festivities, ready to get started on a day of FFA fun.

The tractor pull paused out of respect for a ceremony by the flagpole, then resumed its business with a cacophonous burst of noise as competing tractors strained to pull their given weights.

Walking past the food booths that emitted mouth-watering aromas, past the tractor pull and the range of cars on display at the car show in the parking lot, families and community members walked behind the high school to where the main festivities lay. Many followed signs promoting the flower show in the gym, the pet show, Cow Pie Bingo and other exhibits.

Various Pine Plains classes promoted their graduating classes with fundraisers that sold baked potatoes, pie slices, chili, pulled-pork parfaits, cotton candy and other food fit for a fall fair.

Local businesses and organizations also promoted their wares at booths set up around the school grounds. Walking into the main barn, spectators were overtaken by the sweet smell of fresh hay and the rows of calves being lovingly cared for by middle schoolers who petted and fed them and happily refreshed their hay.

In the barn next door, young children fawned over the small animals exhibit with its array of goats, sheep, rabbits, chicken and other creatures. Meanwhile, FFA members in the making guided their cows and horses around the field in anticipation of the horse and dairy shows.

The day ended with music and tapping toes as The Stissing Center hosted a square dance to raise money for the FFA. The fireworks display planned at the ball fields, planned by the Pine Plains Recreation Department and Pine Plains Dog Warden Rich Prentice, were canceled last minute, but town Supervisor Darrah Cloud emailed the community in her newsletter that the town would “see if it is legal to put the money that would have been used for this towards the new playground.”

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