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GCFFY Market Beef Project

Livestock Sale-44The registration deadline to sell market beef projects at GCFFY is 4:00 p.m., Monday, February 2.  To sell market beef as well as market feeder beef, goats, sheep or swine at the Gratiot County Fair for Youth Livestock Sale the animals must be properly registered with GCFFY which includes turning in the registration form in on-time along with pictures of each animal registered showing the animal’s ear tag (which can be read) and already applied in the project animal’s ear.  Official GCFFY tags cost $1 each and are available at the fair office within the MSU Extension Suite which is now located at 219 N. State St. in Alma (the building that houses the Secretary of State).  Market beef project animals must weigh at least 950 pounds when they weigh-in on Sunday, July 26, 2015 and exhibitors are encouraged to make their project selections accordingly.  This year there are no market beef rule changes from those in the 2014 fair book.  Registration forms are online at http://gcffy.org/parts/Registration%20Forms/2015_beef_prereg.pdf.  Contact Brian Gardner at the Fair Office at 989-875-5292 or bgardner@gcffy.org with any questions.

Market Goat Age Change

Goats-20​At last week’s GCFFY Board of Directors meeting the Board changed how it will determine the age of a market goat at the fair.  Previously the board required market goats to be born after January 1 of the current year.  This rule was difficult to enforce and would require goat breeders to aim for early January kids which in harsh winters which is very difficult on the babies during harsh winters.  To overcome the board adopted a rule requiring all market goats showing at GCFFY to still have their milk (baby) teeth at the fair’s check-in.  This will allow exhibitors to purchase animals which could have been born prior to January 1 as long as they have their milk teeth at the fair.  For more information or questions, contact Brian Gardner at GCFFY at 989-875-5292 or bgardner@gcffy.org.

GCFFY Signs Carnival Contract with Local Company

Picture with KidsGratiot County Fair for Youth signed a three year contract with Maple Leaf Amusements.   Maple Leaf is a local company who calls Breckenridge home.  Erin Fitzgerald, who co-owns the company with her husband John, is a alumna of Breckenridge High School. Erin is from the Nagel family which is famous for providing outstanding, clean fair food wagons which will satisfy fair goers cravings for handmade lemonade, elephant ears, pizza, french fries, cotton candy, caramel apples, corn dogs, deep fried Oreos and of course Nagel polish sausage. The amusement company currently has 15 rides and plans to add at least two additional rides this winter. 

"John and Erin [Fitzgerald] have already been over to scope out the fairgrounds and have some exciting ideas of how to set up our midway," states Becky Hirschman, GCFFY Board President, "I am excited to see Maple Leaf Amusements at the fair and look forward to introducing them to our visitors next summer."  Hirschman reported she and other board members went to see Maple Leaf's rides in Greenville earlier this summer and were impressed with their workers and the condition of their rides.  The company's rides include such staples as the Ferris Wheel, Sizzler, Tilt-A-Whirl, Fun House and swing.  The Fitzgeralds plan to bring a variety of rides to appeal to all ages and sizes.

Another exciting addition this year will be that families will be able to pre-purchase an unlimited daily ride ticket for just $8.  Maple Leaf Amusements will also be giving away a free used car to someone who purchases a wristband throughout the week.  GCFFY is excited to work with Maple Leaf Amusements and proud to welcome them to their hometown fair.

GCFFY Sets Fair Dates

Along with signing a three-year carnival contract, GCFFY also confirmed our fair dates for the 2015 – 2017 years.  This will help exhibitors and families plan their summer schedules.  The dates will be:

  • July 25 – August 1, 2015
  • July 30 – August 6, 2016
  • July 29 – August 5, 2017

We now know what will be the BEST week of the year!!!

2015 timeline photo


Grant from Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee Helps GCFFY Become Greener

mspc_4c_noaddressThanks to a grant from the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, Gratiot County Fair for Youth was able to utilize many soy based products.  Perhaps you saw one of the many signs around the grounds informing about the soy products used this year.  But in case you did not, GCFFY used soy biodiesel to fuel our tractors, soy paint to paint the cafeteria and inside our barns, soy ink to print our fairbooks and brochures, and even soy based stain to coat the deck surrounding the Vanderbeek Fair Office.  Even when you pumped soap on your hands you were supporting soy based products and helping us protect the environment.

Dan Rossman & the Fields Golf Course Receive Appreciation Awards

Rossman Opening CeremoniesAnnually, Gratiot County Fair for Youth presents an individual and a business with the fair's prestigious Appreciation Award.  The Appreciation Award is the highest award the fair presents and it recognizes outstanding commitment to the fair.

Dan Rossman who recently retired after 34 years with MSU Extension is the recipient of this year’s Individual Appreciation Award.  In his role with MSU Extension, Dan has always strived to facilitate a great collaborative relationship with the fair even providing the fair a home within the MSU Extension Office.  

"Dan has been a great friend to the fair for many years," states Brian Gardner, Fair Coordinator.  "He has humbly helped us in many ways and I expect he will continue to be a good friend to the fair for years to come."  At the fair, Dan has ran GCFFY's Crop & Weed ID Contest and helped to put the fun into the Ag Olympics.  Over the years, Dan has spent countless hours helping out the fair in numerous different capacities.  The fair recognizes Dan’s incredible service to the fair and Gratiot County.
Fields Opening CeremoniesReceiving the Business Appreciation Award is the Fields Golf Course in Ithaca.  John & Amy Crumbaugh purchased the course in 2010 and transformed it into an outstanding course in mid-Michigan.  The Fields which is managed by Noah Moomey has hosted GCFFY's golf outing for the past three years.  

"The Fields do everything but hit the ball for us to ensure everyone has a good time," states Gardner.  "The Fields and also John & Amy Crumbaugh was a natural choice. They are great friends to the fair in many ways"  Additionally, the Fields have sponsored the Rodeo, donated to the fair, and purchased many sale items.  The Fair recognizes John & Amy and all of the staff at the Fields for their commitment and dedication to the fair.

A complete list of past GCFFY Appreciation Award Recipients is available here.

Fair Donors Complete GCFFY’s Funding Equation

Still Exhibit Judging-37Every year countless donors help to fulfill GCFFY's funding equation.  Our annual fundraising campaign is set up around "sponsoring" our fair class trophies.  Each donor who gives to the fair not only allows us to provide trophies and recognition, it helps us maintain our facilities, administer the programs we offer and remain sustainable as a 501(c)(3) public charity.  Donations are critical for the annual success of the fair and for special projects such as funding the construction of the Vanderbeek Fair Office, the Feeder Barn and the renovation of the North Horse Barn.  Let’s give a big GCFFY thank you to each and every donor who made this a successful year.  Click here for a list of 2014 donors.
This fall, GCFFY will again ask this generous community to support the fair’s programs and facilities.  The fair will have a lot of work to do with all of the changes happening next door at the Armory and we want to continue to provide our exhibitors with a first rate fair experience.  For more information on how you can become a GCFFY donor, contact the Fair Office at 989-875-5292.

Fair Exhibitor Survey

GCFFY constantly wants to improve how the fair operates.  To help us make our great fair even better we are asking exhibitors and families to take a few moments to complete an online survey.  The survey is found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PPVHH5S.  Alternately, if you would like to just pick up the phone and chat, please feel free to contact Brian Gardner at 989-875-5292 or bgardner@gcffy.org.

GCFFY Total Sales top $700,000

SaleLocal businesses, farmers, families and relatives signed up to support Gratiot County Fair for Youth exhibitors at the fair’s local sales.  The sales exceeded $700,000 in income for the first time in GCFFY’s history showing an increase of 8.8% over 2013 and 106.8% since 2006.  Increases in sale revenue are indicative of market prices and increased community support. GCFFY thanks each sale buyer who came to the fair and bid on animals and still exhibits. 




GCFFY Seeks Board Members

Opening Ceremonies-1Gratiot County Fair for Youth will hold its annual board meeting on Thursday, December 4.  At this meeting, the board will elect four members to its Board of Directors and will appoint a new Teen Representative.  The fair board typically meets the first Thursday of the month at the fair office in Alma.  At the meeting, the board sets policies, reviews financial reports and provides direction and oversight of the fair.  Individual directors will be called upon to attend and actively participate in meetings, help maintain and improve fairgrounds during clean up events and serve on committees as assigned by the board president. Additionally during the week of the fair board members are asked to be accessible for meetings, help set up and take down events and serve one assigned day as the formal Day Chair.  If you have any questions, please contact the fair office at 989-875-5292 or bgardner@gcffy.org.

Anyone interested in running for the board can find a nomination form by clicking here.

GCFFY Is Searching for New Teen Representative

At the fair’s Annual Meeting of its membership on Thursday, December 4, the board will appoint a new Teen Representative to serve as a full voting member on the fair’s Board of Directors.  The new member will serve a two year term on the board.  GCFFY is committed to being a youth fair and having teen members on its board will help to ensure the board maintains that vision.  Teen Representatives are often asked for their opinion on items being discussed by the board and their opinion is always welcome and appreciated.
Anyone interested in applying to be a Teen Representative for the board will find an application here. 

GCFFY Annual Meeting

The next Gratiot County Fair for Youth Annual Membership Meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 4, 2014.  The location is tentatively set to be the Gratiot Isabella RESD Building in Ithaca.  At this meeting GCFFY will elect four positions on the Board of Directors, appoint a new Teen Representative to serve on the board and enact any possible by-law changes.  The fair will also present its annual report to the community with information on fair participation, financial reports, and updates on what projects were accomplished and what will be planned for the following year.  This meeting is open to the public and GCFFY’s community is encouraged to come and support the great programs that happen at the fair.

Gratiot County Community Foundation Awards Grant to Improve Safety and Accessibility to Gratiot County Fair for Youth


The Gratiot County Community Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to the Gratiot County Fair for Youth.  The grant will be used to improve accessibility and safety on the Alma fair grounds.  The grant funded project will improve four key areas of the fair.  First GCFFY will improve access and safety to the fair’s Covered Arena by paving around the seating area of the south set of bleachers and paving a path into the arena.  The Covered Arena is where the majority of the fair’s events are held including the youth livestock and exhibit auctions and the horse pull.  The second improvement the fair will make will be to replace the sandy entrances to the North Horse Barn with paved entrances. Continuing with paving improvements, the fair will pave around its Pioneer Pavilion and create a paved walk to its Cafeteria building.  The final project will be to upgrade the fairs public address system located within the fair office that will allow the fair to better communicate emergencies.

“We are very pleased the Gratiot County Community Foundation chose to partner with us to make these upgrades on our fair grounds,” states the fair’s President, Becky Hirschman.  “These improvements will help better serve our community and the support of the Foundation will help the fair better accomplish its organizational mission.”

The grant from the Gratiot County Community Foundation will be used as a match to a grant the fair received earlier from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development which requires a local match thus doubling the impact of the Foundation’s award.


4-H Leaders' Council Cookbook Features Many Recipes From Fair

If you haven't purchased your copy of the Gratiot County 4-H Leaders' Council Cookbook, you should.  The collection of recipes is exceptional and many recipes were submitted by GCFFY exhibitors who entered these recipes at fair.  The cookbooks are just $12 each and include a free e-book copy. All proceeds from this fundraiser go directly to Gratiot County 4-H Leaders’ Council in support of educational programs.  Cookbooks may be purchased from the MSU Extension Office in Ithaca or from a 4-H Leaders’ Council representative.

GCFFY Calendar

Anyone intersted in knowing what is going on at the fairgrounds is encouraged to visit our Upcoming Events page at www.gcffy.org. (Click here to open)  New at the top of the page is the fairgrounds usage calendar.  If you are interested in doing something at the fairgrounds, check the calendar to either make sure your event is listed or to check to see if the area you are interseted in using is available.  To schedule or change something, contact Brian Gardner at bgardner@gcffy.org or (989) 875-5292.

GCFFY facilities are available to 4-H Clubs and FFA Chapters most generally at no charge.  The fair in return will ask that the facilities be left as good or better than you found them.  Horse clubs interested in setting up times to ride in the arena are asked to contact Becky Hirschman at (989) 875-3355 or becky_hirschman@hotmail.com.

Gratiot County Fair for Youth Campsite Procedures

This time of year, we want to remind all of our exhibitor families and future fair families about our fair campsite procedures.  Campers who camped during our last fair will be offered their sites first.  Letters will go out the end of November for these campers to pay for their sites and sign they understand and agree to our camping rules.  If campers want to move after everyone has responded, we do our best to accommodate requests.  The next step is to review our campsite waiting list.  Currently we have 26 families on this list.  The fair will contact families on this list in the order they were received until all of our empty sites have been filled.  To get on the waiting list or if you have any questions, contact the fair office at 989-875-5292 or bgardner@gcffy.org.  Please provide us your name, address, phone number (including cell phone) and email address.  Families will be added in the order they were received.


Find us on Facebook

facebook_f_logoThe Gratiot County Fair for Youth and the Gratiot County 4-H Programs both have active Facebook accounts.  These accounts are used to provide you with current information about their respective programs.  Everyone wants to be liked so please "like" them and make sure you are receiving current information.

If you have "liked" us on Facebook and we do not show up on your feed, go to our page and like a post or two or make a comment.  Active participation on a page will ensure you are receiving the information we are distributing.

The Gratiot County Fair for Youth's Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/gcffy and the Gratiot County 4-H page is https://www.facebook.com/GratiotCounty4H.