Ag shows expecting big crowds
Whoa! The holiday season isn't quite over. For California farmers, two major farm shows stretch it a little further.
Festive, colorful, crowded, noisy and sometimes wet, the three-day shows in Colusa and Tulare in early February attract farmers the way Disneyland attracts youngsters.
The shows will take place as early as they can this year: Colusa on Feb. 1-3, and Tulare a week later, Feb. 8-10. Both are expecting larger crowds than they have ever experienced in their 40-plus-year histories.
Smaller than Tulare's World Ag Expo, the Colusa Farm Show reported in early December that every exhibit space was already reserved. Attendees know that parking and admission are free, and that exhibitors will be ready with their latest equipment, products and services to greet them, rain or shine.
A water forum held at the Colusa show last year was so popular that it is on the schedule again, with different topics and panelists to answer new questions. A seminar covering PG&E's new variable pricing plan for farms will be held as well.
Originally billed as the California Orchard Equipment Show, the Colusa event has long since outgrown the limitation of that label. Equipment, products, services and facilities for farmers of all crops and commodities are on display, with personnel available to discuss their features. The website for the Colusa show is www .thefarmshow.com.
Sponsors have announced that the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce will conduct a series of meetings during the show to emphasize the benefits of growing rice, almonds, walnuts and other crops popular and profitable in the county.
In Tulare, the expo management is fine-tuning a means of involving show-goers long before they get to the admission gate. They can vote by computer for their favorite among the items that have been selected as the top 10 from the thousands that will be exhibited
Volumes of information about the show are available on the Internet as well. By tapping into the show's website (www.worldagexpo.com), an intended attendee can receive the full schedule of seminars for all three days and view a map of the grounds with directions to specific exhibitors or products.
Attendees are encouraged to register and pay for their admission to the grounds by computer as well, a major time saver to those who won't have to stand in long lines at the gate. Acres and acres of parking are free.
Also free is a shuttle bus ride from outlying areas for those who prefer not to park or deal with traffic congestion near the show grounds. One new shuttle stop is in Clovis, 45 miles from the grounds, which requires a small fare. No extra charge is made for napping on the return bus ride after a long day traversing the grounds.
Planning one's route around the grounds will be easier with the designation of each of the five huge pavilions by the products they house. Saving steps in getting to the pavilions is the aim of the many people movers, some of them horse-drawn, much to the delight of younger and older visitors alike.
As in past years, the hundreds of volunteers who give World Ag Expo a distinct edge over shows of its kind elsewhere will be on hand in their distinctive orange jackets. They accommodate exhibitors as well as show visitors in a thousand different ways.
Food and drink booths will abound, with ethnic and domestic fare that fill the noontime air with tantalizing aromas. With all that the shows have to offer, farmers and their friends don't have to pretend that the holiday season has been extended through the second week in February. They invite the nonfarm population to enjoy it with them.
CONTACT Don Curlee at firstname.lastname@example.org