Moultrie Observer

Sunbelt Expo

October 22, 2009

Expo turnout dips

MOULTRIE — Attendance at Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition was down slightly from last year but the annual farm show still attracted more than 80,000 in 2009.

Final attendance numbers for the three-day show that ended Thursday were 82,000, compared to 85,000 last year, Expo Executive Director Chip Blalock said Thursday afternoon.

“A lot of that was due to the weather being so beautiful that farmers were out in the fields getting the crops out,” he said. “We had great weather for the show. We also had great weather for the farmers.”

While Expo is timed so that harvest can take place during the show, that also means it is held when local farmers are harvesting peanuts and cotton, Blalock said.

“Overall we had a great show,” he said. “Most exhibitors were happy with the quality of the attendees. Probably the one area we didn’t have attended well was the cotton and peanut harvest. I’m not saying they didn’t show up at all, but if I was them I would be in the fields too.”

Although exhibitors were still driving equipment off the lot at the close of the show, Blalock said preparation for next year will begin soon.

“We will start meeting with our exhibitors in a couple of months,” he said.

Blalock said that nothing new appears to be on the horizon at this time, but he thinks there is a good chance bio-crops and bioenergy could be bigger in 2010.

“We are exhibitor-driven,” he said. “We let them drive it.”

For 2009 1,184 exhibitors were at the show, also slightly down from last year.

In addition to Expo workers, Blalock said that a number of agencies and organizations were instrumental in putting on the show. Those include emergency medical workers and Colquitt Regional Medical Center, Moultrie Police Department, Georgia State Patrol, Red Cross and Moultrie-Colquitt County Chamber of Commerce.

“They all do a great job,” Blalock said. “That’s what makes us unique, all these agencies coming together. It’s just very humbling to see the community coming together.”

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