World Ag Expo 2/14/08

The World Ag Expo in Tulare closed what officials say was a record run in terms of attendance.

Official numbers won't be released but we're told they will easily surpass

The 100-thousand expected over the show's three-day run.

Sorting through all the exhibits was time-consuming.

This machine made by Reedley-based AWETA scans fruits and vegetables.

Patrick Burns, AWETA: "It does best quality, which would be export here and then domestic and then fruit with too much scarring is sent to juice bin."

The World Ag Expo closed with another massive crowd, though not as big as the estimated 50-thousand who walked the grounds on Wednesday.

Sean Whitlock, Madera County: "It's huge, it's too big, too much to cover in one day. You need at least two days to cover the whole thing."

Shelley Khal, World Ag Expo Chairman: "It was a challenge, there was so many people here that next year we're going to have to do a very good job of encouraging people to use the park and ride."

80 acres of parking wasn't enough. Khal noticed a 50-percent increase in the RV parking lot this year. Many visitors had trouble finding a place to stay.

"We're absorbing all the hotels in the Central Valley from Fresno to Bakersfield."

Growth brings new challenges.

The main thing there was something to get everyone's motor running.

Those who buy wind machines to warm their citrus groves sometimes want the same engine which powers their trucks.

Randy Quenzer, Orchard Rite: "I do have some growers who will even specify the Ford or the Chevrolet if there's a choice."

Next year the World Ag Expo will expand in another direction.

"We're gonna look at some other target groups such as the beef producers, horse enthusiasts."

The Clydesdales no doubt left a lasting impression on horse enthusiasts this year.

Thick fog kept the early crowd away on Tuesday but attendance soon picked up.

One farmer told me the World Ag Expo is like Disneyland for adults.

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