The CEO of the State Fair of West Virginia challenged members of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions last year to “Dream Big” and showcase the impact of agricultural fairs on local communities by staging food drives.

Nearly 200 of the IAFE’s 1,100 members answered Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe’s call and held food drives at their annual fairs, with some participating during non-fair events and activities on their grounds, in conjunction with board meetings and at other gatherings. All told, the association collected more than 6 million pounds of food for organizations that feed people who are food-insecure in IAFE members’ communities.

Officials at the 2013 State Fair of West Virginia joined with First Energy for “Magic Monday,” generating 20,000 pounds of food through a gate discount promotion. Employees of First Energy, the fair and Reithoffer Shows manned the entrance gates and coordinated the donations of non-perishable food items, which were then distributed to local food banks.

Wrapping up her term as the IAFE’s chairperson at this year’s annual gathering, held Dec. 9-12 at Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Pierson-Jolliffe was gratified to hear the results of the “Dream Big” challenge she had issued 12 months ago.

“Serving as chair of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions was an incredible opportunity that allowed me to share my vision of the importance of measuring the social impact of fairs, and I was honored to watch it come to life as fairs around the world joined together to feed the hungry,” she said.

The IAFE is a voluntary, nonprofit corporation serving state, provincial, regional and county agricultural fairs, shows, exhibitions and expositions. To learn more about the organization, visit www.fairsandexpos.com.

Committed to the traditions of agriculture, family entertainment and education, the State Fair of West Virginia boasts a $13.8 million economic impact on the state. For more information about the fair, go to the statefairofwv.com website or call 304-645-1090.

 

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