ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Tens of thousands of people are descending on Moultrie for the 33rd annual Sunbelt Ag Expo. For the next four days, you'll be hard pressed to find a hotel room from Tifton to Albany.
The expo has a one week impact of 16 million dollars on a 20 county area of southwest Georgia. While many dislike the traffic congestion in Moultrie, they like what business expo brings.
License plates from Maryland, Tennessee, and Florida dot Moultrie parking lots as hotels including the Hampton Inn on Veterans Parkway started filling up last week. Vacant rooms disappear as soon as they're available.
"They'll get grabbed in a hurry absolutely and we love it. This is a good time for us it really is," said Wendy Dozier, Hampton Inn General Manager.
Just this week alone the Expo will generate 16 million dollars for 20 counties in southwest Georgia.
"When you take the other events that we do throughout the year that doubles that economic impact," said Chip Blalock, Sunbelt Ag Expo Exec. Director.
If you think it only affects agricultural businesses take Pigeon Creek for example, they sell T-shirts, this week Expo T-shirts, and local businesses and their employees are snapping them up.
"Western Sizzling, Waffle House, Huddle House, Hampton Inn in Tifton and Hampton Inn here The Bar-B-Que Pit and we've got a lot more," said Raynette Barry, Pigeon Creek.
They'll sell as many as 400 shirts outside the Expo grounds, good business and more advertising for Expo. Then there's the consumer impact that directly affects you.
"You like to eat, you like to have good cotton clothes to wear, a roof over your head. That's what I tell the consumers, it's a chance for them to come and see what the farmer's doing," said Blalock.
To continue producing the foods and goods you want to buy. With few space left for the expo to expand.
"We're about 99 percent full, we've got just a couple spaces on the peripheral," said Blalock.
Expo official expect this year's impact to big just as big as in the past, a real blessing in the current economy.
The Sunbelt Ag Expo starts Tuesday and runs through Thursday. Gates open daily at 8:30 AM. The cost is $10.00 a day or $20.00 for a three day pass. Children under 12 are free with a parent.