When Expo leaves, the dollars remain - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

When Expo leaves, the dollars remain

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October 20, 2006

Albany --  The visitors and exhibitors are gone, but south Georgia is still counting the money after this week's Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie. The annual farm show benefits not only Moultrie, but much of south Georgia.  

With some 200,000 people in attendance, Spence Field, the site of the Sunbelt Ag Expo, is like a city of its own-- much bigger than Moultrie with its population of 15,000.

"When we worked the state booth over there earlier this week, we couldn't keep the information on the table. We saw a lot of visitors from Japan and other nations," says Sara Underdown of the Albany Chamber of Commerce.

When visitors come to town, they spend money. And many times, they travel to get away from the crowds. "The city of Moultrie can only accommodate so many people, with hundreds of thousands headed to Moultrie for the event, Albany drew many people to eat and sleep."

 "Their rooms are limited over there as far as the numbers, so we get a lot of overflow," said Todd Cleveland of Albany's Hilton Garden Inn. The Downtown Albany Hilton benefited from that overflow. "It made it difficult for some of our regular guests to get rooms this week."

They have more than a hundred rooms available. This week, they sold out. "The majority of it was advanced bookings. We knew quite a ways out that this Ag Expo would bring a lot of rooms to the city, so most of our reservations were made far in advance," Cleveland said.

Reservations from people coming here who, according to the Expo's Director, pump more than $16 million into South Georgia's Economy.

"We know that they're hear in our shops and restaurants, we talked to some restaurateurs and they say they've seen a really good week because of folks that have been at the Expo," said Underdown. Taking part in all the area has to offer.  

Expo workers say attendance was up from last year. They're already planning next year's 30th anniversary expo which will include a new facility to educate people about poultry.

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