Tennessee is in the spotlight for 2017 — as the Spotlight State — at the 40th annual Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie, Georgia.
The Sunbelt Agricultural Expo is an agricultural-based trade show known as North America’s Premier Farm Show. Drawing more than 80,000 visitors every year, the Expo includes more than 1,200 exhibitors showcasing the latest in farming technology on a 600-acre working research farm. This year’s Expo runs from October 17-19.
Tennessee invites Sunbelt guests to experience “The Soundtrack of America – Made in Tennessee” at this year’s Spotlight State Exhibit. The exhibit will showcase the state’s cultural diversity, agricultural history and the many wonderful places and experiences offered to residents and visitors alike.
Visitors to the exhibit will walk through a model of the three grand divisions of the state and discover some of the authentic sounds, experiences and places that are original to Tennessee. From the home of the Blues and the King of Rock and Roll in West Tennessee, to the sounds of the Grand Ole Opry in Middle Tennessee, to the Chattanooga Choo Choo, Great Smoky Mountains and Bristol Motor Speedway in East Tennessee, visitors will truly hear the soundtrack of America and explore the sights, history and traditions of this major American agricultural state.
The Spotlight State Exhibit will include interactive engagements for guests who want to have some fun, learn something new, experience something old, and even sit a spell in a rocking chair. There will be opportunities to win Tennessee products and a Tennessee vacation package prize and to taste and see many of the products made by Tennessee’s farmers, craftsmen and industries.
■ Hungry? The iconic MoonPie, which is made in Tennessee, turned 100 in this year! Come to the exhibit’s Welcome Center to taste this Tennessee delicacy while supplies last.
■ Interested in history? Tennessee has hundreds of historical markers, memorials and parks. The state also features segments of the Trail of Tears and the Natchez Trace. Pick up a map and locate a place you’d like to visit.
■ Need vistas or natural beauty? Tennessee is full of waterfalls and mountains, and lakes, rivers and streams perfect for recreation. The exhibit will highlight a few of the more famous.
■ Like natural treasures? With 56 award-winning state parks, Tennessee provides many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, including hiking, picnicking, fishing, boating, biking and camping, as well as interpretive programs.
■ Feeling lucky? We’ll have daily drawings for unique Tennessee-made products from rocking chairs to gourmet food baskets.
■ Got your dancing shoes? Boots or sneakers will do. Music will fill the air throughout the exhibit.
■ Like eagles? Tennessee has many resident bald eagles. One serves as an ambassador for the state park system. The eagle will visit the Sunbelt Expo courtesy of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
■ Want to ‘shine? The exhibit won’t offer any well-known libations, however the recently unveiled Tennessee Whiskey Trail will show how some well-known agricultural products are distilled into world-famous products.
Tennessee State University’s Mobile Ag Classroom and the AgSimulator sponsored by the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation will also be featured. Regardless of your interests, you’re sure to find something to see and do at the Spotlight State Exhibit.
“Tennessee is a wonderful destination,” Tennessee Commissioner of Tourist Development Kevin Triplett said. “We truly are blessed with incredible history, scenic beauty, culture, and of course music and food. Our top two industries are agriculture and tourism and we are proud of that. We appreciate the opportunity to showcase it at the Sunbelt Ag Expo.”
Like the state’s tourism opportunities, Tennessee’s agricultural industries are many and diverse. The cattle and poultry industries are among Tennessee’s top industries, soybean, corn and cotton fields and nursery crops flourish, and agricultural and forestry production impact the state’s economy to the tune of $74.8 billion annually. With more than 67,300 farming operations, 1,800 of those have achieved Century Farm status. Many are open as agritourism destinations.
Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton invites all visitors to the Sunbelt Ag Expo to be Tennessee’s guests. “We are proud of Tennessee’s agricultural heritage and history,” Commissioner Templeton said. “But you don’t have to come from a farming background to appreciate what our state has to offer. Come visit the Spotlight State Exhibit for an experience that will have you planning your next trip to Tennessee.”
The Tennessee Spotlight State Exhibit is a partnership of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture; Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension Service; Tennessee Departments of Agriculture, Tourist Development and Environment and Conservation; Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation; University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service; and USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Rural Development, Natural Resources Conservation Service and National Agricultural Statistics Service in Tennessee. UT Extension Dean Robert Burns served as the chair of the Spotlight State Planning Committee.
For more information visit sunbeltexpo.com.