Thomasville Times Enterprise

October 16, 2010

Expo opens Tuesday

Alan Mauldin

MOULTRIE — Hosing off tractors and other equipment, spreading wood chips for flooring inside exhibitors’ spaces and raising tents — all were well under way Friday as the annual mini-city took shape.

For more than 40 weeks of the year Spence Field, a former training center for military pilots, is largely vacant, but when Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition opens the normally deserted pavement could be mistaken for a bustling metropolis.

The 34th edition of the farm show, touted as the largest North American farm show that features field plot demonstrations, begins on Tuesday and runs through Thursday. About 100,000 visitors are expected over the three days.

This year Expo has a slightly different layout and a new dairy education pavilion located in the cattle section.

“We’ve actually reorganized our footprint a little bit, with the dairy pavilion, sheep and goat demonstrations moving to the horse pavilion,” Expo Executive Director Chip Blalock said. “The hunting and fishing section is now in the south end of Agribusiness Building 4, the backyard gardening section is now in the Family Living Building.

With the new dairy building will come a larger cattle presence, Blalock said. The pavilion cost $23,000 and was funded through donations from the dairy industry.

“It’s just something, when you put the building up and you have a permanent location every year,” Blalock said. “I know the exhibitors are excited.”

In the Expo exhibit fields, farmers and those who just love to see big machines can see the latest farm equipment in action harvesting cotton and peanuts.

There also will be a test track where visitors can take new pickup trucks for a spin.

“GMC and Chevrolet have combined to do the ride and drive test track in 2010,” Blalock said.