Ag Expo impact is far-reaching - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ag Expo impact is far-reaching

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October 17, 2007

Albany--  Tens of thousands of people from all over the country are in South Georgia for the 30th Annual Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie.

Total attendance will easily top 200,000 and those visitors will spend big money not just in Colquitt County, but throughout the region. A lot of Albany businesses are reaping the benefits.

"Quality Inn Merry Acres, this is Cathy," answered Cathy Odell Wednesday evening.

Cathy Odell has been busy this week. "No I am sorry, we are sold out tonight," said Odell in the phone receiver.

Calls to the Quality Inn have been plentiful. The rooms? Not so much. "We've sold out Monday night, Tuesday night, and again tonight," said Odell.

All 110 rooms are full. But still much of Odell's time has been spent on the phone. "We all spent hours on the phone looking for rooms for guests the past few nights and there's none to be had," said Odell.

The reason?  The Sunbelt AG Expo, about 50 miles away from Albany. Expo Executive Director Chip Blalock says it's proof of the expo's far reaching impact.

"We did an economic impact study last year and made about a 16-million dollar impact for the 20 county area that surrounds Moultrie and Colquitt County," said Blalock.

Rooms are also full in Tifton, Thomasville and Valdosta. People are filling up the roads and restaurants. "We're proud of that impact that we make on the region," said Blalock.

The Quality Inn looks forward to this time of year, every year. Odell says it's rare for an event to place such a hold on the area. "No, this is the only event that affects all the hotels in town," said Odell.

Even though it's busy, there's nothing like being full The only bad thing is having to turn guests away.

The Expo wraps up Thursday at Spence Field. Gates open at 8:30 and close at 4:00.  

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