As the 57th-annual 3i Show closed Friday in Garden City, the site of the 58th show remained uncertain.
For decades, the farm show has alternated between Garden City and Great Bend. However, Eddie Estes, director of the Western Kansas Manufacturing Association which sponsors the ag exposition, has expressed an interest in finding a permanent home for the event. That may not be in either of the two communities.
“It’s still up in the air,” said Jan Peters, director of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce. “We’re all anxious and looking forward to the news.”
The 3i Show is a big deal. It attracts 500-some exhibitors and flocks of agricultural producers to the host community who fill hotels and restaurants. It also involves an army of well over 200 local volunteers.
Peters said officials in both Great Bend and Garden City had thought Estes would make the announcement by Friday before the curtain went down on the 2011 show. That way, exhibitors would know how to plan.
That was not the case. “We don’t know when it will be,” she said.
“We stand ready to host it next year,” Peters said. Great Bend officials have a plan in place should this come to pass.
Whatever happens, “we are taking a look at all of our options,” she said. She declined to elaborate on what those might be.
“The bottom line is we will be OK,” Peters said. “We will move forward whatever the decision is.”
Estes could not be reached for comment on this story.
The three i’s in the 3i Show stand for industry, implements, and irrigation. The show started in 1950 as the Western Kansas Karavan which traveled around the state making one-night stands in various Kansas towns to sell their products. Over the last half a century, this caravan has evolved into one of the largest free expositions in Kansas.
WKMA is a member of the North American Farm Show Council, a nonprofit organization founded in 1972.
For more information, visit www.3iShow.com, or contact the WKMA office at 620-227-8082.