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Farm show a Peoria Civic Center stalwart since '82

PEORIA, Ill. — The long history of the Greater Peoria Farm Show (GPFS), the largest indoor farm machinery exhibition in Illinois and one of the premier agricultural events nationally, exists hand-in-hand with the Peoria Civic Center (PCC).

Opened in 1982 following years of contentious back-and-forth over funding for the facility, which today includes a 12,000-seat multipurpose arena, theater and expanded exhibit hall, the farm show was the first major, multi-date event to which the fledgling venue – located in downtown Peoria at 201 SW Jefferson Avenue – played host.

Thirty-seven years and 36 shows later, the GPFS has grown in lockstep with the civic center. With more than 76,000 farms and 280 million acres of farmland, Illinois is a top producer of corn, soybeans, livestock and specialty crops.

Each year, approximately 10,000 producers from Illinois and neighboring states mark their calendars for the three-day event, which will be Nov. 28-30, with show hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Admission is free.

“The Peoria Civic Center and the Greater Peoria Farm Show have enjoyed a long and successful relationship,” said Megan Pettigrew, a marketing and media representative with the PCC. “We look forward to hosting the show and welcoming farmers to the Peoria Civic Center and to downtown Peoria again this year.”

The farm show serves as a bit of an economic stimulator to the area when the farmers come to town each year, noted a spokesperson for the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Though it is not as measurable as some larger conventions that require multi-night stays, there is an appreciable economic value for Peoria and its merchants as a result of the GPFS, and we consider the farm show to be a great asset to the community,” they said.

Originally housed in the exhibit hall, the GPFS has expanded over the years along with the municipally-funded structure that hosts it. After the farm show outgrew its original confines, the Civic Center Arena was used for booth and exhibit space, along with its inner and outer concourses and lobbies.

When agricultural equipment and implements began growing larger and requiring more exhibit space, PCC management announced an exhibit hall expansion project that would accommodate more and larger equipment.

This year’s GPFS will feature more than 340 companies offering more than 1,000 product lines in more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, according to show manager Ron Bormaster, of Farm Shows USA, a division of Midwest Shows, Inc.

“The GPFS is one of the biggest events of the year at the Peoria Civic Center,” he said. “Along with great ag exhibits there will be daily events, including Elwynn Taylor’s 2018 Crop Weather Outlook. With strong support from the community, exhibitors, farmers and sponsors, the 36th annual GPFS is shaping up to be the best show yet.”

Among the exhibitors attending the show are many that call central Illinois their home, including Precision Planting, Morton Buildings and LINCO. Another local company, Central Illinois Ag, will be providing complimentary coffee and rolls each morning of the show in the main exhibit hall.

Lunch is served daily by a Peoria favorite, Alwan Meats, in the Arena Club Room (make sure to visit the Stor-Loc exhibit for a $2-off lunch coupon). For more information and an interactive floor plan of the show, visit