Expo brings 200,000 to south Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Expo brings 200,000 to south Georgia

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October 15, 2007

Moultrie-  Southwest Georgia's largest event is expected to have a $16 million impact on the region.

More than 200,000 visitors are expected at Spence Field this week for the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition. This is the Expo's 30th year and it will feature 1,200 exhibits.

Monday displays were under construction. In the last 30 years, the number of Expo exhibitors has tripled. In southwest Georgia hotel rooms are scarce.

"We fill up all the motel rooms in Albany, Tifton, Valdosta, Adel, Cordele, Camilla, all around we fill them up and we're proud of that impact we make on the region," said Chip Blalock, Sunbelt Ag Expo Executive Director.

Two ponds have been added for the first ever Aquaculture and Pond Management exhibit.

"We have catfish in one pond, bass and brim in another you can come and learn how to raise those fish in a commercial setting or a backyard setting," said Blalock.

Field demonstrations will highlight new farm equipment. Monday people were buzzing about the launch of John Deere's 7760 cotton picker.

"Not only do we get to pick cotton without ever having to stop, except to make our turns, but we also eliminate the need to have boll buggies, module builders and all the labor that supports that ground crew running those pieces of equipment," said James Cundiff, John Deere Product Manager.

Bio-fuels and bio-energy are again hot topics. University of Georgia scientists will showcase bio-diesel research with their bio-fueled bus.

"We're going to be looking at things here that run the whole gamete of bio-fuels, from ethanol and bio-diesel things that you hear about a lot and some things you don't hear about pyrolysis and gasification and creating bio oils and chemicals all from biomass," said Ryan Adolphson, UGA Director.

Thanks to a $406,954 One Georgia grant, attendees this year will notice fewer utility poles, more paved areas, and more rest rooms. With livestock and more to see, this years Expo has a little something for everyone.

The Sunbelt Expo runs Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Gates open daily at 8:30 a.m. Admission is seven dollars per day, children under six are free.

Traffic is expected to be heavy around Spence Field, but you can avoid delays if you get there early.

Traffic from Valdosta should use Gate one. Those coming from Albany and Moultrie and Tifton should use Gates 2, 3, or 4.

Security personnel recommend getting there before 9:00 a.m. to avoid the rush.

The busiest time is between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Security also recommends, good walking shoes.

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