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After year away, FFA National Convention & Expo returns in-person in Indy

The National FFA Convention and Expo was just a virtual event last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

INDIANAPOLIS — An estimated 55,000 students visit Indianapolis this week wearing their blue corduroy jackets.   

"Welcome back to Indianapolis,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett during a news conference on Monument Circle Tuesday morning. “We are so happy to see you again."

The National FFA Convention & Expo was just a virtual event last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the agricultural education event returns to in-person in 2021.  

"From sessions to workshops to concerts and everything in between, we are so excited that tens of thousands of students will be coming here to celebrate our resiliency,” said Artha Jonassaint, FFA Southern Region Vice President.

RELATED: FFA announces national convention will be in person for 2021

The FFA's health and safety plan for the convention requires that masks be worn inside the convention center and other venues. Anyone with COVID symptoms is asked to stay away or leave immediately, along with their close contacts.

"This is going to be a very memorable and exciting convention for each and every one of us just because we are back in Indianapolis,” said Jacob Nunley, an FFA member from Tecumseh, Oklahoma. “If we have to wear a mask, whatever we have to do, we are back and we're excited."  

"Everyone has their own lives and their own precautions that they have to take,” said Dean Hill, FFA member from Templeton, California. “So, we have to try to make sure that this is the safest place to be. So, whether that's flying with masks, that's traveling, that's making sure that you are doing your best to stay safe for others and just be conscious of everyone around you."

Credit: WTHR
Face masks are required indoors at FFA Convention & Expo events.

But an in-person event of this magnitude helps inspire the Future Farmers of America.

"People forget how diverse an organization FFA is,” said Arilyn Oatman from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “When you get to be all together in one place like we do for the National FFA Convention, you get to see how broad we really are as a membership: all the different people, the interests, where they're from, and just build connections."

RELATED: Sweet news for Indy: Convention center hosts first trade show in 18 months

The opening general session is Wednesday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium. The event runs through Saturday. FFA members will participate in service projects during the convention. They will build, paint, and donate 100 Little Free Pantries to be placed around central Indiana to improve access to food.

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