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Dairy Fest not forgotten at S-GI, WVCS

SPRINGVILLE—For the first year in about 30, the first weekend of June didn’t see Springville filled with vendors, carnival rides and Bossy Bingo. Due to a lack of available space, the Springville Dairy and Agriculture Festival did not take place this year.

But for students at Springville-Griffith Institute and West Valley Central School, the traditions of the festival still continued.

Drive Your Tractor to School Day was started about 30 years ago, in connection with Dairy Fest. For West Valley, the tradition started around 12 years ago, taking place the same Friday that kicked off Dairy Fest. Both district’s honored the tradition this year, for both students and the agricultural industry.

John Busekist, Springville’s agricultural teacher, said the administrative team played an important role in allowing the students to continue taking their tractors to school. Without their approval, the event wouldn’t have taken place. For an added bonus, High School Principal James Bialasik knows what it’s like to grow up in the agricultural world.

“Mr. Bialasik … tells a story about him living on a farm,” Busekist said. “He’s out there with the kids, telling that story, listening to their stories. It’s good.”

Though there isn’t a curriculum centered around the event, students still get a chance to learn.

“The kids will go out and look at the tractors, if they have questions they ask [their classmates],” Busekist said. “That kid-to-kid education goes on a lot.”

Even those with small hobby farms, or students who drive their lawn tractors to school, Busekist said educational opportunities are present for all students.

“We go and do a parade at the elementary school … that let’s the little kids know this is going to happen for them,” Busekist said.

Across the county line, the WVCS team has changed up the event, pushing it back to June 8 and making it part of the inaugural End of Year celebration.

“It’s going to be one big cumulative event to celebrate the end of the school year,” WVCS Superintendent Eric Lawton said. “We’ll have carnival games, a chicken barbeque, we moved the band concert. It’s a way to finish the school year in celebration.”

Students who drive their tractors to school that day will be entering into a contest and awarded prizes in certain categories. Cleanest tractor, most school spirit and others will give the students a more interactive way to enjoy the event. Prizes will be handed out following the school day, and the carnival games will begin. Between 3 and 6 p.m. a chicken barbecue will take place, with the band concert beginning outside at 6:30 p.m. Those in attendance then have the opportunity to head above the football field for a bonfire.

The end of the year event is a compilation of different ideas from students and staff, Lawton said, but mirrors the beginning of the year celebration the district hosts in the fall. Assuming the event goes well, the district plans to continue it in following years.

“For us, we’re kind of removed from Dairy Fest, so we didn’t need to have it the same day,” Lawton said. “Depending on the success [of the end of year event] and if the staff and community embrace it … I’d think it can become a new tradition.”

For Joan Taylor, chairperson for Dairy Fest, seeing the students carry on the tradition hit a sweet spot.

“It’s really sweet of them,” Taylor said. “I thought they’d ditch it this year.”
Taylor drove by S-GI last Friday, and was happy to see tractors of all sizes, from lawn tractors up to big agriculture ones.

“It’s a real pleasure,” she said. “It’s nice to know we weren’t forgotten about.”

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