by Madison Archer, Contributing Writer
The UMF Dance Team is looking for members to join. Last season they lost 4 seniors and concerned students following the pandemic.
COVID-19 has significantly changed sports, clubs and school. For the Dance Team it has made it hard to practice while physically distancing, it’s difficult to find a space large enough to accommodate all members.
Alyssa Leonard, a senior and President of the team, said that finding room is one of their main struggles. “I guess just finding space. I’m sure other groups are dealing with that as well,” said Leonard.
Alyssa Leonard, President of the UMF Dance Team, has elaborate plans for the team to dance safely this season.
Photo courtesy of Sam Shirley.
In the past, the Dance Team has performed at TD Garden in Boston during Celtics games. This past March, their trip was cancelled due to COVID-19. “I don’t think [the trip] will happen this year,” said Leonard. “But the hope will be that we can set the team up to be financially ready to do it the following year.”
The team normally performs at halftime during UMF basketball games. Now, there are new COVID regulations where fans are unable to watch in person. The Dance Team has decided to focus on learning routines, having fun and creating workshops. “Right now we’re trying to start [team practices] outside so we will be physically together as much as possible,” Leonard said.
Even though the Dance Team has faced struggles with practicing and performing this semester, they haven’t stopped planning events that could involve the UMF community and beyond. The team is hoping to show a virtual showcase with UMF clubs, such as Clefnotes, Deep Treble, Bust-A-Move Beavers, The Lawn Chair Pirates and the cheer team at the Narrow Gauge drive-in theater for a show for UMF students.
Leonard is also hoping to plan a virtual showcase collaborating with other dance teams from different colleges and universities. “My hope is that we can compile a bunch of things from across New England and then make it into a YouTube video, kind of like a movie for our friends and families to watch,” Leonard said.
For those interested in joining the Dance Team, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Auditions are not required and students with little or no experience are welcome.
by Madison Archer Contributing Writer
On September 11th through the 13th and the 18th through the 21st, the Farmington Fair hosted King and Queen Fries and Mr. and Mrs. Sausage from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Masks and social distancing were also required.
Rupert Pratt, the Chairman Board of Directors for the Franklin County Agricultural Society (FCAS), said, “Mr. and Mrs. Sausage is going to be doing doughboys,” a sweet concoction of deep fried dough topped with powdered sugar
Neal Yeaton, the Secretary of FCAS, said that “people have been cooped up, I think next year there will be a lot more interest in the fair and in the racing and everything going on.”
The fair attracts a lot of people for the racing alone so not being able to have that income is going to affect the horse owners and caretakers.
4-H is a club for kids to learn by doing real-life and hands-on activities dealing with agriculture. Yeaton hopes to “keep the 4-H kids involved enough so they’ll come back with the exhibition hall and with their animals” since showing animals is a big part of the Farmington Fair as well.
Glenda Barker, a Director in FCAS said “This is Farmington Fair weather,” as she walked into the exhibition hall for the FCAS meeting.
“The RSU-9 schools would usually get out early on Wednesday of the fair week, a beloved tradition to look forward to. This year there is no fair and Wednesday is the school’s day to clean,” Yeaton said.
Dana Levasseur, owner of Mr. and Mrs. Sausage is usually really busy during the week of the Farmington Fair.
This year though, the closure of fairs statewide has made a “huge economic impact for everybody, food vendors, propane vendors, it’s a huge trickle down effect,” said Lavassuer.
Levasseur was excited to announce that they had added fried oreos and fried dough to their menu for the weekend of the 18th.
Being able to show the town that the fair organizers are still being active and still have events is important to Barker. Even with COVID-19 guidelines, FCAS wants to be able to help the community feel connected and this is one way they can help. Since the future is uncertain the group just remains hopeful that the 2021 fair will not be cancelled like fairs in the Midwest have started doing.
While discussing the vendor’s success, Barker said “I think it was good that we could organize this, because it just shows the town that we did something.” Giving the locals something that they can hopefully enjoy was major to the FCAS.
Hopefully the recent good weather will lift up the spirits of those disappointed by the lack of rides and events at the fair this year.
Although this year will not be as exciting for the locals, 4-H students or vendors, there may be some semblance of normalcy thanks to food vendors like MR and MRS. Sausage and King and Queen fries.