By TIM THORNBERRY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There are many ways to get spring fever in the middle of winter, and one way is by attending the largest indoor farm show in the country.
The National Farm Machinery Show (NFMS) is slated for Feb. 13-16 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC), and for those who have attended in the past, it promises to be bigger than ever.
For those who have never been there, it is the quintessential showcase of everything that relates to farm machinery. For 48 years the show has been the centerpiece of events in the area during the winter months, bringing in millions of visitors from all across the country and the world.
This year there will be more than 850 exhibitors inside the more than 1.2 million square feet of the KEC, making for a comfortable experience for attendees while they view the newest in farm equipment technology, the newest in products and places to get answers to some of their toughest farming questions. There will also be numerous free seminars with the country’s top ag experts on hand. Topics range from marketing practices for farmers to fine-tuning crop production skills and long-term sustainability risks.
For those looking to take something home smaller than a tractor, the Family Living Center will offer goods from more than 80 different booths. Items available include toys, jewelry, household goods and clothing, to name a few. The center will be open each day of the NFMS from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Those seeking loud excitement can find it at the Champion-ship Tractor Pull, one of the largest events of its kind.
While the NFMS promises plenty to do, the show itself means a lot to the community. Amanda Storment, vice president of media and public relations for the Kentucky State Fair Board, said it is the biggest show conducted by the board, with the largest financial effect on the area.
“There is $25 million worth of economic impact,” she said.
That is saying much, considering there are many big shows brought to the KEC by the fair board, including the Kentucky State Fair, home to the World Championship Horse Show and the North American International Livestock Expo, the North American Quarter Horse Show and the North American Championship Rodeo.
And that dollar amount is easy to believe, considering last year’s NFMS attendance topped the 305,000 mark.
For those staying in town for a few days and looking to see the city, Louisville is home to many attractions, including the famous Louisville Slugger Museum and bat factory as well as the Muhammad Ali Center, a museum dedicated to one of the world’s greatest boxers and humanitarians, who was born in Louisville.
There’s also the Kentucky Derby Museum at historic Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby; and the Kentucky Science Center, to name a couple more. There are also numerous restaurants around town with everything from fast food to top-notch steakhouses, to one-of-a-kind diners.
Those wishing to venture out a little further will find horse farms abound in the area, and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail offers tours of some of the most noted distilleries in the world.
The NFMS is located at the junction of Interstates 65 and 264, near the Louisville International Airport, and is open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission to the show is free and open to the public, but there is an $8 parking fee per vehicle. There is also a charge for tractor pull tickets.
A complete seminar schedule is online at www.farmmachinery show.org or, for more information, call the NFMS Hotline at 502-367-5004.
Visitor services include wheelchair accessibility throughout the facility, ATM machines, food and beverage areas, taxi and bus service, wheelchair and scooter rentals, first aid facilities and numerous information booths.
For more information about things to do in Louisville, call the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau at 888-568-4784 or 800-743-3100. NFMS details can be found at http://twitter. com/nfmslouisville and www.facebook.com/nationalfarmmachineryshow