The 29th Annual Four States Agriculture Exposition wrapped up Sunday afternoon, leaving organizers and vendors to reflect on the success of this season and prepare for the 30th anniversary event next year.
Overall numbers were down at this years expo, a fact that was not unexpected, said expo President Dusty Beals.
Our numbers were down a little bit from last year, but we were really expecting it because of the economy, Beals said.
Initial gate numbers place total attendance at this years expo at roughly 11,000, down nearly 3,000 from last years gate numbers. Despite the low attendance, Beals said the event was a success.
I think it was really good this year, he said. I talked to quite a few vendors and they felt the crowd was a really good crowd and they sold a lot and most were extremely happy. Overall we are ecstatic about the success of the event.
More than 100 venders from around the Four Corners set up booths at the expo and provided attendees a wide range of products and information to take in. From local businesses such as The Bee Tree, which specializes in honey and beeswax products, to larger dealers such as Wagner Equipment Co., the vendors present at the expo represented every niche of agriculture.
For most of the vendors the benefit of a presence at the expo has less to do with product sales and everything to do with marketing.
It is all about putting our products and wares in front of so many people for such a short amount of time, said Wayne Geisinger, owner of Geisinger Feed Grains.
Along with businesses, nonprofit organizations also benefit from a presence at the expo. Steve Miles, representing the Dolores Soil Conservation District, said that a presence at the large event is incredibly beneficial to any kind of organization.
It is all about exposure, Miles said. We are just trying to get people aware of what we do and the different ways they can partner with us in a program. It is a great way to reach a large amount of people all at once.
In addition to the benefit the expo brings individual vendors, the expos presence in Cortez each year has a remarkable impact on the community, said Dena Guttridge, executive director of the Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce.
Its a huge event for our community, Guttridge said. If you consider that 14,000 people are walking in each year, that means that many are from out of town. That means our hotels are full and our restaurants are full and retailers are seeing a boost.
Guttridge also noted that many expo attendees are first-time visitors to the Cortez area and a positive experience can go a long way in bringing them back for multiple visits.
If they have not been here before and they come and enjoy the expo and enjoy the area, then that brings them back a lot and we benefit in the long run, she said.
Beals said clinicians also expressed satisfaction with this years expo and, with the exception of high winds, there were no real complaints.
We tried to get volunteers to stand on the roof and block the wind but we didnt have much success, Beals said jokingly. No, it was good. There was a smaller turnout at the clinics, but the crowds were attentive and asked the right questions.
Plans are already underway for next years event, which will mark the expos 30th year.
Weve already got people booked for next year, and as long as we can get the sponsorship and the support we are going to try and make it the biggest show that weve had so far, Beals said. We are really going to pull out all the stops for next year.
On the Net: Four States Ag Expo, www.fourstatesagexpo.com.
Reach Kimberly Benedict at [email protected]