Message from Marla Calico – IAFE President

Marla Calico, IAFE President and CEO.

The impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic to every aspect of our lives in every corner of the world is beyond comprehension and evolving so very quickly. We are all seeking the answer to the question of “when will this be over”; and no one has the answer. Uncertainty is all we know.

I was reminded by the manager of one our county fairs last month that this situation is a marathon, not a sprint. She used those terms because she knew as a runner I could immediately relate. My message to you today is to think like a marathon runner:

  • Planning is Paramount – you must carefully think through every scenario, every step of this race.
  • One Step at a Time – each step is important, and some will be easier than others. When it feels impossible to go forward take just one more step.
  • Stay Healthy – none of us had time to “train” for this crisis and the stress is taking its toll on our health. Concentrate on doing what is important for your health.
  • Build Your Support Team – there is nothing like rounding the corner of a race and seeing someone you know cheering you on or shouting out your name. Reach out to lend a hand; and, don’t forget to reach out when you need a hand. We are UNITED.
  • Let’s Meet at the Finish Line – fairs and shows — and the businesses that are so closely aligned and necessary for mutual success — are resilient, creative and most importantly, built by people who are fueled by passion to produce these marvelous events which brings our communities together. At this time, we cannot know what each “finish line” will look like, but I know that we will be there for each other; to celebrate, to support, to plan for recovery.

It is oft quoted that in crisis there is opportunity. This is our opportunity to serve our communities; to be innovative and create new ways to provide youth leadership development and agriculture education. To weather this storm, we must network together even more than before; sharing ideas and strengthening one another.