June 15, 2021

30,000 expected at FFA convention in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The National FFA Organization is bringing its national convention back in-person to Indianapolis this fall after the meeting switched to a virtual format last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Indianapolis-based group devoted to agricultural education announced May 19 that it expects anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 people to attend its convention from Oct. 27-30 at the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium.

FFA’s annual gathering in Indianapolis typically brings at least 65,000 blue-coated youth and other attendees to the city, but organizers expect some restrictions may still be in place this year that could limit attendance, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

Mandy Hazlett, FFA’s associate director of convention and events, said this year’s gathering “will look a bit different,” with a hybrid approach that offers in-person events for those who can attend in person and virtual activities for those who cannot.

“Just like everybody else, we’ve been watching things progress” over the past several months, Hazlett said. “Having smaller and larger events starting to come back into play, and seeing how that’s working specifically here in Indianapolis — and how the city is handling everything — was a big factor.”

FFA is scheduled to convene in Indianapolis through at least 2033, following a contract extension that was announced last June alongside the group’s decision to temporarily go virtual. The event has been hosted in Indianapolis since 2006, with the exception of a three-year stint in Louisville from 2013 to 2015.