Covid Recovery Campaign: The Guilford Agricultural Society Thanks You for Your Continued Support
As we continue working to restore our solid financial footing, we are already beginning plans for a 2021 Fair in September.
“In a way, the Guilford Fairgrounds functions as a second town green.”
— late benefactor & Guilford Agricultural Society Life Member, Lou Weady
Susan and Lou Weady
The Guilford Foundation has announced a significant bequest of $300,000 from the Lou and Susan Meek Weady estate to the Foundation’s Susan and Lou Weady Legacy Fund. The Fund is restricted for the perpetual support of the Guilford Agricultural Society.
Read more about the Fund and the Weadys’ long record of generosity in support of the Society and the Guilford Fair ->
The Guilford Agricultural Society, founded in 1859, produces the annual Guilford Fair — Connecticut’s second-oldest fair, and a Library of Congress Local Legacy. The Fair is a true community event, held close in the hearts and minds of generations of participants and fairgoers alike. We attract about 20,000 people annually.
The cancellation of the 2020 Fair — as well as numerous other income-generating events on the Fairgrounds — left the Agricultural Society with a significant operating deficit. We turned to our many “Friends of the Fair” — folks like you — to help us raise at least $50,000 to fill this large, sudden and unforeseen hole in our budget caused by the pandemic of 2020. And you stepped up! Thank you!!
The Society’s mission and efforts have kept agriculture in the forefront of the minds of Connecticut residents since 1859. As a 501 (c)5 agricultural/horticultural organization, the Society also owns and maintains the 30+ acre Fairgrounds adjacent to the town of Guilford’s historic district. The Fair and the Society are so interwoven into the fabric of Guilford and the surrounding communities that many folks assume we are town-funded and are supported by taxpayer dollars. On the contrary, we rely solely on event revenue, donations and many dedicated volunteers to maintain the grounds and pay for the myriad, ongoing expenses needed to support and preserve this special spot in the heart of the community.
The roots of The Guilford Agricultural Society run deep. At a time of environmental advocacy, the Society’s goals dovetail closely with the current movement to better understand our Earth, its inhabitants and its rich resources.
The AG Society goals are:
1) Fund planned and unexpected maintenance and upkeep of the existing property and its infrastructure, and,
2) Contribute to the Guilford Fairgrounds’ physical plant improvement and upgrade plans for the long-term viability of the fairgrounds.
These goals are not aspirational. They are ongoing, annual goals of the Society. The 2020 COVID pandemic has derailed the fundraising needed to achieve these goals — plans that are critical to the Fairgrounds’ sustainability.
For years the Society has heard townspeople talk about the Fairgrounds as a taxpayer amenity – almost a second town green. And just to reiterate: the Agricultural Society and the Fair receive no tax dollars to support our operations. The Fairgrounds has always been offered for rentals, on a limited schedule and scope determined by town rules. And some town events held there are FREE of rent and charges — such as providing the grounds for the annual town fireworks or, just recently, the 2020 Guilford High School Graduation. The Fairgrounds themselves are a vital and irreplaceable asset to our entire community.
The Agricultural Society has never lost sight of its fundamental purpose, which is to remain a living agricultural, historical, and educational institution in the community that also provides family entertainment and many happy memories. Please help us preserve, protect and maintain this jewel in our community.
Thank you, Neighbors.
Our 2020 COVID Operating Deficit Recovery Campaign was truly a community fundraising effort. We raised over $33,000, reaching about 66% of our $50,000 goal. We cannot thank our donors enough!
As we enter 2021 still showing an operating deficit, we hope you will continue to remember us with your generosity. There are many ways to give noted below.