The Channelview FFA held its 51st annual Livestock Show at the Allen Hall Fairgrounds in Channelview on April 2nd through 5th. The community event highlights projects from the members of the Future Farmers of America and the 4-H Club. Students compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships through the show and auction of livestock projects.
The FFA has been a part of the Channelview ISD educational landscape since the mid 1960s. Over the last 50 years, the FFA’s livestock show has grown in both size and scope.
“In the early days, everything happened under one large event tent,” said Allen Hall, retired Channelview agricultural sciences teacher, director of vocational education, and director of transportation (1965-1998). “The first one I helped with was 30 ft by 60 ft, and was set up behind the old high school.”
In 1971, the livestock show moved to what is now referred to as the ‘old fairgrounds,’ which were part of the YMCA.
“Everything the FFA needed then was built by students, parents, volunteers and all from donated materials,” said Hall. “By 1984, the event and the organization had outgrown the YMCA location’s seven acres and the drainage problems made parking seem like a mud hike.”
Much like the need for updated facilities, the need to elevate the FFA mission to better suit the changing needs of student members, fueled one of the livestock show’s most significant changes in 1984, with the building of the Allen Hall Fairgrounds located on Wood Drive.
The traditional auction of prize-winning steers, goats, lambs, hogs, broilers, rabbits, horticultural exhibits, and the FFA sweetheart cake, leads the fundraising arm of the show. This year’s event raised over $100,000 with “add-ons” still being tallied. “Add-ons”, straightforward cash contributions paid directly to named participants, are a second method in which the community-at-large can assist these students earn cash for college.
For students whose projects don’t sell at auction, the show’s “under the barn” sales bring in last-minute funds for those hoping to add every dime possible to his or her college fund.
In addition to the Livestock Show, The Mighty Thomas Carnival provided entertainment, as well as the annual FFA Parade on the final day of the event.