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Around The Grange
Remembering the 144th Annual National Grange Convention

By Barbara Covington Jones, National Grange (New Grange Jan/Feb 2011)

  FEBRUARY 5, 2011 --

Scores of enthusiastic Grange members, Delegates, and guests from all across the country traveled to the Hilton University Hotel in Charlotte, NC to participate in the 144th Annual Session of the National Grange.

National Grange Master/ President Ed Luttrell and his headquarters’ staff (Jessie Cope, executive assistant; Grace Boatright, programs assistant; Barbara Covington Jones, communications director; and Sandor Szima, building engineer) from Washington, DC were the first on the scene in Charlotte to meet with the staff to ensure that everything would be perfect and enjoyable for everyone.

“Down Home Fun” was the theme of this year’s Convention, which was hosted by the Eastern Region States. The Eastern Region is comprised of Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Potomac Grange No. 1, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Chairman of the Committee was Crystal Allen.

The Hilton Hotel was able to accommodate all of the functions of the Session and not have to leave the property. But, did so to explore some of the cultural activities the city had to offer. Off site tours included the Billy Graham Library, Discovery Place, and other tours for Youth and Junior Grangers.

The Convention kicked off with a Host Region Reception and guests indulged in “Southern Style Bar-b-que.”

On Monday, the first day of the Session, Distinguished Grange Awards recipients were honored at a luncheon. On Tuesday, the 144th Annual Convention opened in the 7th Degree and the National Grange Master delivered his Annual Address. Convention speakers were Johnny C. Wynne, dean of Agriculture, NC State University, Kathleen Franco, executive director, AT&T services, who spoke on broadband access, and Amanda Nolz, contributing editor, of BEEF News.

A host of other activities and programs were available for all Grange members, from the Idea Fair and Best of Show to the Youth Costume Party and Dance, to combined workshops for Junior and Youth members, a dinner for Grow Club members, and activities for Horizon Leadership Ambassadors.

To demonstrate Grange members' dedication to serving their communities, four Granges were recognized for their community service efforts and State Masters signed Grange Growth Pledges to show their commitment to ensuring Grange growth.

At the "Evening of Excellence" program, eager Grange members had an opportunity to witness a showcase of the exceptional talents of their members.

On the last evening of the Session, Grange members were treated to a Celebration Banquet to acknowledge their accomplishments in 2010, and were entertained by Brother Jimmy Gentry of the North Carolina State Grange. Immediately following him and capping off the evening were the highly skilled Grange auctioneers, speaking at lightning speed. The auction was conducted to assist with continued funding of our trademark efforts to protect the Grange name.

And, just like the couple on the logo, Grange members ended the evening with a "Down Home Dance."


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