Some interesting facts about FFVA’s annual convention

In no particular order, here are a few things you might find interesting about 70 years of FFVA conventions.

Singer Anita Bryant entertained at FFVA conventions in the 1970s.

- In the 1960s and 1970s, the convention schedule contained a note at the bottom of the first page that read, “Ladies are invited to attend all business sessions.”

- During the 1970s, “The Anita Bryant Show” was the convention’s featured entertainment.
The Star Spangled Banner will be performed by a bluegrass group this year.

- A business session in 1970 was all about “Pesticides – Will they last through the ’70s?”

- In 1959, bingo included breakfast.

- 1974, you better not have been late for dinner. “Doors open for the annual banquet at 7:30 p.m. Food service starts at 8 p.m. No food service after 8:30 p.m.,” the program warned.

The Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert will speak at this year's opening luncheon.

- The 5th annual convention in 1948 was postponed from Oct. 5-7 to Nov. 1-5 because of storm conditions. The storm was known as ‘Hurricane Eight.’

- The 29th annual convention was held at Disney World less than a year after it first opened in 1971.

- Be sure to have your tickets handy to attend this year’s events that include a meal.

- The 21st annual convention, held in 1964, featured a spouse activity called “Nothing to Wear.” Or you could choose between swimming and bridge.

- Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, who will speak at this year’s opening luncheon, produced and hosted a documentary in 2010 called Food Sense with Phil Lempert that aired on public television stations. It followed a breakfast of eggs, bacon, orange juice, toast, coffee and strawberries from farm and factory to table. Learn more here.


- In 1981, a young Rep. Bill Nelson addressed the annual Citrus Breakfast. At the time, he was serving his second term of office in the U.S. House of Representatives. Five years later, he would spend six days orbiting the Earth aboard the space shuttle Columbia.

- Following four hurricanes in two months, the 61st annual convention (2004) benefit auctions and donations netted more than $55,000 for hurricane farmworker relief. One memorable auction item was a Labrador retriever puppy.

- Some of the items to be auctioned at this year’s Benefit Auction are: a wildlife print signed by the Florida Cabinet, fishing trips, UF football tickets, a Duck Dynasty basket, Coach purses, a Taylormade R1 driver, NASCAR tickets and a custom-made photo book of ‘‘FFVA through the years.”

Five FFVA presidents/chairmen at the 1963 convention. They are from left: Rudolph Mattson, Roy Vandergrift, J. Abney Cox, John Evans and Andrew Duda Jr.

- Newly named FFVA President Glenn Rogers and member Lisa Hill won the costume contest’s first prize at the 1996 convention theme party for their resemblance to Sonny and Cher.

- Foreign competition could put Florida and other U.S. citrus growers out of business in two years if tariffs were abolished, Florida Citrus Mutual head Robert W. Rutledge warned at the 1966 convention.

- This year’s Cracker Breakfast Keynote Speaker, Lt. Col. Robert J. Darling, USMC, (Ret.), witnessed the unprecedented actions that leaders took to defend America from his post at the White House on Sept. 11, 2001.

- In 1949, John W. Evans of Oviedo won an Evinrude motor at the 6th annual convention in Sarasota.

- Class 2 of FFVA’s Emerging Leader Development Program will graduate on Sept. 24 at this year’s Awards Luncheon. You’ll meet members of Class 3 at dinner that evening. DuPont is sponsoring a reception for the Emerging Leaders and ELDP alumni.

We’ll see you Sept. 23-25 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Learn more here.

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