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Farm show a boon to community
Numbers expected to hold steady for 2017 expo
new deh city council farm expo pic web
Shown is a aerial view of a past Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo. The annual show brings tens of thousands of visitors to town. - photo by Tribune file photo

 The Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo is big deal for the community, but it wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for city officials and volunteers who make it happen, show promoter Daren Dale told the Great Bend City Council Monday night.

Dale paid a visit to the council meeting to trumpet the sixth annual farm show, which opens at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 5, with the ribbon cutting in Expo III at the Great Bend Expo Complex west of town. It runs through Friday, April 7. 

“Great Bend is second to none,” Dale said. He promotes shows in Wichita Falls, Texas, and McCook, Neb., and Great Bend has the best city and volunteer participation by far.

Despite the agriculture economy struggling some now, the number of vendors for this year’s show is holding steady, he said. As for visitors, his other expos have had record turnouts recently and he expects good results here as well.

There were 50,000 attendees to last year’s Great Bend show, not including vendors, he said. If each of them spent $100 in town, that is $5 million.

“That’s a huge economic impact,” he said. That doesn’t factor in all the motel rooms being filled.

Furthermore, he said many of these folks make return trips to have their purchases serviced. “It’s a year-long impact.”

Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Farm Expo Committee Chairwoman Jan Westfall offered her thanks to the city for its continued commitment and for its maintenance of the Expo facility. Vendors and attendees notice and comment on the improvements.

“Thank you for the show you put on and thank you for the $5 million,” Mayor Mike Allison said.

“If you think positive, positive things are going to happen,” Dale said.