From the vintage farm equipment to the demonstrations in the Horse Arena, from Duane “Duke” Drive to Britty’s Memory Lane, visitors swarmed the 60-acre Tent City at Farm Technology Days outside Algoma on Tuesday.
Although final attendance figures had not been compiled Tuesday night, about 10,000 people had passed through the gates by mid-afternoon, according to Kristy Pagel, Publicity & Promotion liaison.
Sunny skies and highs in the 80s helped attract people to Ebert Enterprises LLC not far from Lake Michigan to take in the hundreds of exhibits in Wisconsin’s largest agricultural exposition. The forecast was for strong to severe overnight thunderstorms that could linger into Wednesday, when the exhibition grounds will again be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday’s high will be closer to the low 70s with a slight chance of morning showers, according to the National Weather Service office in Green Bay.
Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel led the applause for hosts Randy and Renee Ebert and their family during Tuesday’s opening ceremony.
“They are the representatives of 9,046 dairy farms we have in this state,” Brancel said. “And those people out there in all those tents and all those people who are willing to answer the questions, give guidance and sell products to the 69,000 farms we have in this state, they all make this possible.”
Gov. Scott Walker pointed out that agriculture has an $88 billion impact on the Wisconsin economy, with 413,000 people engaged in farming or farm-related businesses. He noted that one of the symbols on the state flag is a plow, representing agriculture.
“It’s a part of our heritage, it’s a part of who we are,” Walker said. “But I’m just as excited when I see stuff today to know it’s not just about our past, it’s about our future.”
Among Wednesday’s highlights:
It’s Farm Management and Marketing Day at UW-Extension’s Specialist Central, with speakers on dairy markets, farm succession, dairy policy and ag markets.
Performances in the Family Living Tent include half-hour stints from Bobby Rivers at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., the Kewaunee County Star Search champions from 1 to 2 p.m., and the Algoma Community Band closing the afternoon with a concert that begins at 3 p.m.
The Equine Tent and Arena schedule includes two clinics each from guest horsemen Chris Cox and Dan James, plus demonstrations at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. by Mounted Justice, a Wisconsin club that participates in the sport of Cowboy Mounted Shooting – they shoot 10 balloons from the back of their horse with single-action revolvers and blank ammunition in a timed competition.
The children’s stage features include entertainer Randy Peterson at 10 a.m. and noon, tae kwan do at 11 a.m., a K-9 demonstration at 11:30 a.m., and the Kewaunee County 4-H Dog Project at 1 p.m., among other events.
Complete events and descriptions of all of the vendors and exhibits can be found in the official program at the Farm Technology Days website.