POPLAR BLUFF -- Agriculture-related businesses and organizations in the Southeast Missouri region are gearing up for Ag Expo 2005, which will be held at the Black River Coliseum in Poplar Bluff on Jan. 14 and 15.
The two-day event, which drew in about 12,000 people last year, will feature 118 booths, outdoor exhibits and contests to help the public learn about agriculture and have some fun while doing it. It's one of the largest farm trade shows in the region and this will be its 19th year.
"Admission is free, so it's a great place to bring your family," said Phyllis Flanigan with the University of Missouri Extension in Poplar Bluff. Her organization puts together the event in conjunction with the Ag Club at Three Rivers Community College.
"We normally have a huge crowd," Flanigan said. "We hold activities throughout the event that are free to the public. We have free entertainment and free educational seminars."
One seminar will be the Master Gardeners presenting gardening tips on Saturday.
"It's any aspect of agriculture," Flanigan said, "whether it's gardening or a large row-crop farmer."
"It really has a winter county fair kind of atmosphere," said Flanigan.
That entertainment helps pull in the people so they can check out the displays at the 118 booths. Dexter farmer Ken Minton has worked a booth there representing the Missouri Rice Council.
"There was a lot of traffic through there," said Minton. "There's just a constant, steady stream of people and a lot of industry."
Minton said having a booth at the expo is a great way to reach consumers and farmers, with thousands of them coming through the Coliseum.
"The people that were there selling things, I saw them back every year," said Minton. "So I'd say they think they're doing a worthwhile thing from their end or they wouldn't be back there every year."