No matter how you define success, A-Day at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown Township was a big one.
In addition to drawing large crowds of festival-goers all three days last weekend, revenues were higher than for previous A-Days. That was thanks in part to the addition of 30 more craft vendors than in previous years. But it was also because of beautiful, summer-like weather that drew visitors to see the students’ animals and classroom displays, and to ride horses, drink milkshakes, watch pig races, eat fair foods, listen to music and have a good time.
The only glitch came on Saturday evening, when A-Day was shut down an hour early due to concerns about an approaching storm.
Weather during past A-Days has been as cold as 40 degrees with rain, said University President Benjamin Rusiloski, and as warm as this year’s temperatures in the upper 70s under sunny skies.
In his remarks during opening ceremonies, Rusiloski said it is the students who make A-Day happen. He noted that during the first A-Day in 1949 the school had 246 students. Today’s student committees in charge of A-Day had more than 1,600 students to draw from.
“We are pleased that thousands of families from the community have come to DelVal for A-Day,” Rusiloski said. “This event, now in its 73rd year, is entirely student-run and exemplifies our mission of experiential education.”
This year’s A-Day events covered three times as much space and lasted for three times as many days as they did during the early years of the festival, according to keynote speaker Dean Emeritus James Diamond, who chaired the event in his student days. He also praised the students for their hard work over the past year that made the official state festival possible.
Noting that A-Day is the only state-sanctioned fair run entirely by students, Diamond said, “I am proud to announce these students are a model for all fairs across the commonwealth.”
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1, also spoke during the ceremonies, praising the students for their choice of study and remarking on how important agriculture is to the nation. “Food security is national security,” he said.
Julia Lorenz, student president of A-Day, said her experiences working on the fair underscored the message that we all need to focus on the details of life. “Don’t live for tomorrow while today slips away,” she said.
Senior Samantha Yankocy, who was in charge of organizational development for the fair, including the opening ceremonies, said the students were thrilled at how well it went. “The early closing on Saturday was the only hiccup, and that wasn’t much,” she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic kept the current students from holding A-Day in 2020 and 2021, so for most of them this was their second fair. She said the experience of running the fair was an outstanding one for the students. “Watching A-Day come to life was the most gratifying part of being at DelVal,” she said.
Alice Kaufman, who co-chaired the committee that brought in this year’s record number of vendors, said that all the students’ hard work was worth it when A-Day finally arrived and they were able to appreciate its success.