The 31st annual Mid-Atlantic Farm Show will be held Nov. 2-4 at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center in Concord, N.C.
The show has been held for the past several years at an outdoor facility in Wilson, N.C. The change in location comes along with the change in ownership and leadership of the of the event, which is dubbed, “the oldest farm show in North Carolina.”
Former owner of the farm show, Charles Rogers, retired after the 2005 show. Though initial contact had been made by Rogers to move the show to Concord, according to sources involved with the event, officials in Wilson had been promised the show would remain in their city.
The announcement in June that the show had been sold to Wilmington, N.C., businessman W.C. Lanier, and the subsequent move to Concord was a surprise to several vendors from the Wilson area. The loss in revenue from the show could cost Wilson over $3 million in revenue from the event.
“I’m sure Rogers had no intentions of alienating any of the past vendors or businesses when he considered Concord as a new site for the Expo. I hope we can find a way to keep the show’s past and future vendors happy for a long time in Concord,” Lanier says.
The 190,000 square foot Cabarrus Center has climate controlled space for the show to grow. Plus, there is an outside midway space big enough to meet the needs of large exhibitors. The mostly indoor facility near Concord will eliminate the need for tents and provide the show plenty of room to grow, according to Jolyn Key, event and marketing manager for the show.
Lanier says the new location will put the show nearer the center of their customer base, which includes Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas. Located just off I-85, the Concord site will have easy access for visitors from Georgia to Virginia.
The 2006 show will feature educational programming and scholarships for 10th to 12th grade FFA students. It will feature growing mid-Atlantic markets in equine, livestock, grapes, biofuels, landscaping, forestry and aquaculture.
The show is expected to attract over 200 vendors and over 40,000 visitors during the three-day event. College and professional groups will host recruiting booths and conduct a series of seminars and roundtables to make students aware of professional opportunities in various ag-related industries.
Vicky Porter, a Cabarrus County farmer and chairperson of the county’s Ag Advisory Board, says farmers in the area are excited about the show coming to their area. “We need to break down the farming stereotypes of 50 years ago — it’s not like that today,” she stresses.
“Farms are not farms with farmers, notes North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler. Many kids in rural areas of our state would like to farm, if they had an economic opportunity.” Lack of information, leadership and funding may be holding back the next generation of farmers, Troxler adds.
For more information on the 2006 Mid-Atlantic Farm Show, visit www.midatlanticfarmshow.com.