COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City FFA hosted an evening of celebration, homegrown goodness and blue corduroy for a new fundraiser last week — the Blue Jacket Bash.

The event was organized by the FFA boosters, who formed to support agriculture teachers and members at Columbia City High School. The group began planning the event in May, designed to highlight and celebrate the success of Columbia City FFA, the state’s longest continuous running chapter.

“What an incredible evening executed down to every detail by our FFA boosters,” said Sarah Furthmiller, FFA advisor and teacher at Columbia City High School, who, along with fellow ag teacher and advisor Skylar Campbell coordinated student members to help with the event. “I am overwhelmed by the legacy of the agricultural education program at Columbia City High School, the amazing support shown by our community for the program, as well as the funds that were raised.”

FFA booster parents (from left) Travis Baker, Jerry Pettigrew and Ryan Schroeder helped grill steaks.

There was musical entertainment and a buffet meal, which featured locally sourced foods; steaks from Schrader Angus Farms and Krider Meats, pork from Greg Rupert and Kevin Ousley, green beans from Wise Farms, potatoes from Jim Hart and Local Yokels’ produce, along with homemade desserts.

Local caterer Jill Daniel prepared the sides for the event while the meats were grilled by volunteers.

Beth Bechdol, CEO of AgriNovus Indiana, was the featured keynote speaker, highlighting the importance of the AgBiosciences and attracting and retaining talent in this growing sector. Former FFA State Officer and Columbia City FFA alumnus Brett Roberts followed with an inspiring speech about his FFA experiences and the impact participating in the program can have on an individual.

Attendance exceeded 300, with local business people, farmers, teachers and FFA alumni enjoying the event.

The evening provided an opportunity to support the Columbia City FFA by making a charitable contribution. When the tables were cleared and blue jackets were hung back up, between sponsors and contributions, more than $25,000 was raised for the program.

Gold sponsors for the evening were Micropulse, Huntington University, Kubota by More Farm Store, Micropulse, Parkview Health, Holzinger Seed Service, Ag Plus, STAR Bank, Wealth, Insurance & Management, Silveus Insurance Group Dean Warren, Columbia City Ag Teacher Emeritus and Schrader Real Estate & Auction.

Silver sponsors were Hoffman Land & Cattle, Blackburn and Green, Bippus State Bank, Specialty Hybrids (Rob Schuman & Dave Huhn) and Wagner-Meinert LLC.

Funds raised from the Blue Jacket Bash will help support the Columbia City FFA Chapter’s programs and activities throughout the year, such as career development events, leadership training and community activities.

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More than 300 community members attended the Blue Jacket Bash, hosted at Indian Springs Middle School by Columbia City FFA.