January 20, 2006 – Posted at 6:16 p.m. CST
POPLAR BLUFF, MO -- It's one of the largest farm trade shows in Region 8. Ag Expo 2006 kicked off Friday afternoon in Poplar Bluff at the Black River Coliseum, and it's a big year for the Expo...they're celebrating their 20th anniversary.
The very first Ag Expo was held in 1986 at the Three Rivers Community College Gymnasium in Poplar Bluff. There were about 65 booths and about 2,500 people came over the two day event, but these days, things are a lot different.
“The first year was pretty exciting. We had people who would receive a ticket at the door for door prizes and we realized that we had a lot of people backed up in the weather and we didn't really need that,” said Phyllis Flanigan, publicity chair, “You know after you try something once you'll know what works and what doesn't, and what you want to change.”
Things move pretty smoothly considering the Ag Expo draws between 10-12,000 people. There are now 118 booths and activities for designed for the whole family. Magee Farm Equipment was one of a handful of booths that has been there since the beginning.
“They draw such a crowd, you really can't turn the exposure for the price of a booth and setting it all up,” Doug Jackson of Magee Family Equipment.
Folks in Region 8 were out Friday for a look at everything from virtual fishing...to a chance to pet a lama.
“It's agriculture and natural resources. We look at all aspects of agriculture and any type of booth that would help a farmer or farm family,” said Flanigan.
But not everything has such an obvious connection to agriculture.
“A large percentage of our patient cliental are ag people and we like to see them out here and if there is anything else we can do for them,” said Carolyn Morgan of Kneibert Clinic.