82nd National FFA Convention Starts Today in Downtown Indianapolis

Over 50,000 members of the FFA, an acronym that stands for Future Farmers of America, have descended upon Indianapolis to participate in the National FFA Convention, starting today and running through Saturday, October 24. Considered the largest gathering of youth in the nation, the 2009 FFA National Convention is the 82nd such event, celebrating outreach and service over many generations.

Indianapolis business benefits greatly by hosting the event, especially the Indianapolis hotels and Indianapolis restaurants that serve the tens of thousands of participants. But the Indianapolis society and community in general benefit just as much. When all is said and done, FFA Convention participants will have contributed to the building of no less than three “Habitat for Humanity” facilities in Indy, cleaned up some Indianapolis parks, packed up food boxes for seniors with fixed low incomes, and rehabilitated some historic Indianapolis real estate properties.

One farm in Zionsville, a suburb just north of the Circle City in Central Indiana, receives the staunch and energetic help of over 300 FFA members for today, Thursday and Friday. Maplelawn Farmstead, one of many Indianapolis non-profit organizations, is the happy recipient of all this hard work on the part of youth representing the FFA Convention. Restoration projects include landscaping, fall cleanup, barn repairs and yard work.

The FFA is a middle school and high school youth organization that was founded in 1928 as Future Farmers of America. By 2008, membership in this enthusiastic, agriculturally oriented youth group had grown to more than half a million. Some 400 exhibitors will be presenting at the 82nd National FFA Convention, 50,000 hotel rooms will be booked and an estimated $30 million will be spent in and around Indianapolis. Many of the convention activities center around the famous Conseco Fieldhouse in the Indianapolis downtown sector, with some diversion to the spiffy new Lucas Oil Stadium and Indiana Convention Center.

Convention events include the “Stars Over America Pageant,” an Agriscience Fair, the FFA Food Court, the FFA Talent Stage, the American Degree Ceremony, a Saturday Shopping Mall Kiosk, and much more. The convention’s opening session, “Lead Out Loud,” starts today, October 21, at 4 pm at the Conseco Fieldhouse. To read all the details about the many interesting activities surrounding this vivacious Indianapolis event, please visit the FAA website.