MOULTRIE, Ga. (WALB) - The Sunbelt Ag Expo brings hundreds of people to Moultrie each year.
For the first time in more than 40 years, the show has been suspended.
Barber’s Drive-In is a family-owned restaurant that’s been in business since the early 60′s.
Owner Chance Barber said they love welcoming the same people each year when the expo comes around.
And while they’ll miss the business this year, he thinks it was a good call to suspend it for the safety of everyone.
“This is already way off in the normal just due to the COVID outbreak, the pandemic, and people are genuinely concerned,” said Barber.
He said they’ve been serving people headed to the Ag Expo since it first began in the late 70′s.
“Since my grandad had the restaurant, he started it back in ’61. When the expo started, it was just a little two-lane highway out front of the drive-in, and we would sell cokes and things right by the road,” Barber explained.
Now with the expo suspended, he said much of Moultrie will be impacted.
“That’s gonna be huge on us, and it’s not just me. It’s the hotels, it’s the stores. They do a lot of business with us while they’re in town for the expo weekend. And it’s not just the visitors, it’s the vendor’s as well,” said Barber.
In a release, it states while they’ve been working hard to find a way to let the show go on. “Unfortunately, we simply cannot safely blend networking, commerce, and education while representing the rich history of the Sunbelt Ag Expo. Additionally, the board’s decision to cancel the 2020 Sunbelt Ag Expo was greatly impacted by its concern for valued attendees’ and exhibitors’ expenses, and their need to plan.”
Barber said while he agrees with the decision, it is a big concern for him, and other businesses in the area.
“Even though they’re not on the same road as I am, they just generate a lot of income from the expo, and that’s gonna be something that they usually count on, that we won’t have this year,” said Barber.
With the pandemic and now the expo suspended, Barber said it’s difficult not knowing what will happen next.
“We’ll get through it. It’s just gonna take some time,” explained Barber.
Barber said while this is a big loss for everyone, they’ll just do their best to work through it, and trust the Lord to take care of them.