Champlain Valley Fair has ‘Awesome’ year

first_imgESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. – The 84th annual Champlain Valley Fair lived up to its theme of ‘Awesome’ with 290,128 people — down from 2004 — coming through the gates from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5. The slight dip in attendance from last years 299,168, may be due to the dramatic effects of Hurricane Katrina and resulting increase in gas prices, fair officials said this week.Still, visitors from 45 states and as far away as New Zealand, California and Hawaii attended the 10-day fair, concert series and agricultural competitions.There were plenty of smiles to go around, especially for fair food venders who saw their sales rise by about 3 percent, making it the best year ever at the Fair for purveyors of fried dough, corn on the cob and cotton candy. This was an awesome fair overall, said David F. Grimm, general manager of the Exposition. We had excellent weather almost every day; one of the strongest fair concert line-ups anywhere in the Northeast; an array of fresh attractions and great new modern facilities that were enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people over the course of the Fair.Some of the nicest comments were heard over and over from our visitors was about how clean and family-friendly the Fair was again this year. And thats all because of a great staff, dedicated department superintendents, their hard-working crews and the volunteers who come to help because they love the Fair. Everyone gives 100 percent and more for 10 days so that our fairgoers have the best experience possible, he added. While there was only one rainy day in the middle of the Fair as the remnants of Hurricane Katrina passed through New England, its effects were felt through the busy Labor Day weekend by fairgoers traveling longer distances to attend the event, Grimm noted. That may be why our overall attendance numbers are down a bit, he said.To aid in the disaster relief effort, fair officials invited the local American Red Cross to bring its bloodmobile to the fair and collect donations for hurricane victims at its gates and before and after the sold-out Tim McGraw concert Sunday. More than $20,000 was collected from fairgoers, according to the Red Cross. Radio station WOKO 98.9 helped get the word out and several performers and fair vendors contributed a portion of their proceeds to the relief effort.Sparking many of the changes this year was a new partnership with Progressive Insurance as the Fairs presenting sponsor. With Progressives support there were daily prize giveaways and a grand prize of $1,500 in home improvement prizes; additional picnic tables, plastic shopping bags, an art show and new signage at the Fair this year. Our relationship with Progressive as a presenting sponsor is unique in the fair industry and we are looking forward to having them back again next year for our 85th anniversary celebration, Grimm noted. The Fairs Grandstand series of concerts – topped by country headliner Tim McGraw – received rave reviews for their showmanship and entertainment value. Shows by country star Alan Jackson and comedian Larry the Cable Guy were nearly sold out. Other Budweiser True Music concerts included The Allman Brothers Band with .38 Special (featuring a surprise guest, Trey Anastasio of Phish); American Idols star Clay Aiken; and disco-era favorites K.C. and the Sunshine Band and Village People. Motor sports fans enjoyed Land Airs Extreme Freestyle Motorcycle Show; JM Productions Figure 8 racing and the Windshield Doctors Demolition Derby; and Add-ons NTPA Grand National Tractor and Truck Pull on Labor Day.The Reithoffer Show midway and carnival featured 40 rides and attractions and the one-of-a-kind Speed – a 135-foot-tall ride that spins and twirls riders at 60 mph. It is the only ride of its kind currently operating in the United States, according to Pat Reithoffer. Overall numbers were down by 3.5% on the midway, Grimm said, again reflecting the lower attendance numbers.Free daily entertainment at the Fair drew daily crowds for a high dive show, daily appearances by Spider-Man, a science show, free video game arcade, a juggler, mime, hypnotist, caricature artist, racing pigs, petting zoo, Elvis impersonator, musicians and an authentic cowboy chuck wagon. Many entertainers and animals were featured in the daily parade through the grounds. New this year was the Burlington Free Press Awesome Zone in the State Building which along with daily shows for children and a YMCA Fitness Challenge, featured the Big Heavy World Concert Series – a nightly showcase for local high school and college bands. Approximately $75,000 in competition premiums and prize money was awarded during the fair. Significant increases in entries to the art and photography department were seen this year; including a special art show presented by Progressive Insurance from its corporate art collection in Cincinnati, Ohio. Home crafts reported a record-number of quilts and other crafts sold during the fair.This years heavyweight pumpkin, grown by Kevin Companion of Huntington, weighed in at 960.5 pounds and was displayed in the new Expo North Greenhouse, along with fruits, vegetables, flowers, bonsai and Christmas trees. Expo North also featured the 53-ton giant sand sculpture featuring Harry Potter characters, displayed indoors for the first time at the fair. More than 100 people, including Vt. Gov. James Douglas, were on hand to honor the 2005 inductees into the Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame at the Champlain Valley Exposition in a ceremony held during the Fair. This years inductees were: U.S. Sen. James M. Jeffords; dairy farmer Harold J. Howrigan, Sr. of Fairfield; Morgan Horse steward Dr. Donald Balch; and a posthumous award to former Vt. State Rep.Stephanie Bourdeau. Vermont Dairy of Distinction awards were presented midweek to numerous Vermont farms and a reception was held for Vermont Legislators and past directors of the Exposition. More than 1,300 animals were on display or competing for top honors in their class at the Fair. Contests ranged from horse and oxen pulling competitions, the Gymkhana invitational horse show with a top prize of $1,000, 4-H horse and cattle shows, and the sheep to shawl competition in the Sheep tent. The Read and Win summer reading program, sponsored by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions and Champlain Valley Exposition, saw approximately 1,000 children complete the assignment of reading at least three books over the summer to earn free admission to the Fair. Several hundred students in grades K-5 and their families from five northern Vermont counties attended a special reception on Aug. 29 and received free books and ride tickets. Later in the week, more than 600 students, teachers and parents from Vermont schools visited the Fair as part of the annual educational field trip day to visit the agricultural and animal exhibits. Students from the University of Vermonts Agriculture and Animal Science programs also toured the fair as part of their studies.Significant improvements to the fairgrounds and facilities over the summer included the addition of Expo North to the Robert E. Miller Expo Centre; relocation of the cashiers office building, repaving of several roads, improved lighting in the agriculture area, and updates and renovation of numerous food vendor buildings. We are a not-for-profit organization. It would be impossible to make these kinds of improvements and put on a quality fair of this size without the strong backing from local and national businesses. We had more than 50 fair sponsors, in addition to Progressive, this year and we cant thank them enough for their continued support, Grimm said.Plans are already underway for the 2006 Champlain Valley Fair, Aug. 26- Sept. 4, that will mark the events 85th anniversary. Photos from this years fair, results from many of the blue-ribbon competitions and more information about other upcoming events this fall at the Champlain Valley Exposition at www.cvfair.com(link is external). For additional information, call (802) 878-5545.last_img read more

Donovan: Data concerns are economic, national security issue

first_imgData security and privacy issues create economic and even national security concerns, CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan wrote to Congressional offices Tuesday. Donovan reached out to Senate Commerce and House Energy and Commerce Committee staff, linking to a recent Wall Street Journal article about Chinese spying efforts against the U.S.The article Donovan linked to notes that China’s espionage efforts “is being abetted by an ocean of hacked personal data that may help pinpoint who is vulnerable to inducements.”He notes that this is the latest proof that, in addition to the various consumer protection and economic issues associated with data security and privacy, “there are significant national security issues as well.”The message links to CUNA’s document on data security and privacy solutions, which are: ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Norway’s oil fund lifts exclusion as Raytheon exits cluster bombs

first_imgNorway’s sovereign wealth fund has revoked its exclusion of US defence firm Raytheon from its investment universe, after blacklisting its shares back in 2005.Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the oil revenue-funded the NOK7.4trn (€827bn) Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), said it had excluded the company from its investment 12 years ago due to the company’s involvement in the production of cluster munitions.NBIM said: “The executive board’s decision to revoke the exclusion was made on the basis of a recommendation from the Council on Ethics, which regularly shall assess whether the basis for observation or exclusion still exists.“The Council on Ethics has received confirmation from Raytheon that the company no longer has any activities associated with production of cluster munitions.” The council said in its recommendation, dated 22 August 2016, that Raytheon has issued a statement on its website saying it did not manufacture or sell cluster munitions — nor did it make or sell land mines, nuclear warheads, or biological or chemical weapons.In 2008, a number of Nordic pension funds blacklisted Raytheon because of its involvement in the making of cluster bombs along with other companies involved with the controversial munitions.The four Swedish national pensions buffer funds AP1, AP2, AP3 and AP4, Industriens Pension and Danica Pension in Denmark were among those divesting from Raytheon and other companies and removing them from their investment universe.The Council on Ethics for the GPFG exists to evaluate whether the fund’s investments are consistent with the fund’s ethical guidelines.The Convention on Cluster Munitions was signed in December 2008 in Oslo, prohibiting all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of the weapons, and so far it has been signed by 119 states. These weapons are considered a danger to civilians in a conflict both during war and for years afterwards, since the ‘bomblets’ can wander off course and remain unexploded, like landmines.last_img read more

FB : Future SU players complete high school careers with Upstate-Downstate Football Classic

first_img Published on June 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Stephen: sebail01@syr.edu | @Stephen_Bailey1 Comments Devante McFarlane arched his neck and gazed up at nearly 50,000 empty seats.Standing by the locker room entrance before Friday’s 3 p.m. practice, he turned his head right, and then left, exploring the Carrier Dome stands.The senior running back at Half Hollow Hills West High School and incoming freshman at Syracuse envisioned the stadium filled with fans. And soon that vision will become a reality.‘It’s amazing,’ McFarlane said. ‘The Carrier Dome, it’s crazy.‘I’ve seen it packed before. I’ve been to a couple games, and just knowing it’s going to be my home, it’s just a blessing.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut before McFarlane becomes a member of the Orange, he has one final high school game: the Upstate-Downstate Football Classic. The third annual high school all-star game between the best high school players from upstate and downstate New York will take place Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Carrier Dome, and McFarlane is one of three future SU players participating.McFarlane, offensive lineman Omari Palmer and safety Wayne Morgan will all suit up for the downstate team, which looks for its third consecutive victory.Heading into his third day of practice, McFarlane said the experience has been a special one. Intense at times, but relaxed and enjoyable nonetheless.‘We have the kids that want to have fun, and then we have the competitors,’ McFarlane said. ‘I’m a little bit of both. I don’t like losing so I guess I’m more of a competitor, but I like to have fun too. I’m not all about just straight competing.’Palmer called it ‘the best of both worlds.’ But soon that world will shift from high school to college.Palmer, McFarlane and Morgan have already discussed how special it is for them to go through that transition together in the Dome on Sunday. McFarlane smirked when asked about their futures and called SU a good fit.At SU, he will join a deep running back corps that has no determined starter. Prince-Tyson Gulley, Adonis Ameen-Moore and Jerome Smith are expected to vie for carries entering training camp.Morgan, ranked the 11th-best safety nationwide by ESPN, will look to bolster an SU secondary that unraveled down the stretch of last season.And Palmer – a monstrous 6-foot-3, 330-pound Class AA all-state selection from Longwood High School – will start at right tackle on Sunday, but could play either guard or tackle at SU. With the right side of last year’s starting line lost to graduation, he could be needed to make an immediate effect.That’s an opportunity Palmer said he would cherish.‘Just to play college football,’ Palmer said. ‘To play against the best, the top players in the Big East and eventually the ACC, just to come to college, to continue my education and to meet new people, and just to, to grow.’But there’s still one more game before Palmer, McFarlane and Morgan join the collegiate ranks. On Sunday afternoon, the Carrier Dome will open its gates and fans will file in, but likely to just the lower level.For the three future members of the Orange, the crowds will only grow.‘It’s exciting to come in here, to look at the dome and to see the immense space, the area and how big it is,’ Palmer said, ‘and to imagine it packed with fans for a big game.’sebail01@syr.educenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more