Do strippers stimulate Kentucky's farm show?

By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – It runs until Saturday, February 19, but this year's farm show at the Kentucky Fairgrounds is already being called a success; however, the issue of clothing seems to be raising some questions about next year's show.

Its draw is visible before you even get inside:  people come from North Dakota, Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, and even Missouri.

"This is the number one show in the country," said Kentucky Fair Board President & CEO Harold Workman.

At nearly 50, the farm show is still going strong.

"We don't have any concrete numbers, but we do know that those numbers are up and vendors are saying it's been a great show for them," Workman said.

Farmers' favorable fortunes fuel fewer financial fallouts for followers.

"The Ag economy is very healthy right now - they were a little iffy a couple of years ago, but they have money to spend because of the price of crops," said Don Helfers of Ace Pump.

Just like the crops, the farm show fuels and helps the local economy grow to the tune of several million dollars each and every year. With a successful farm show comes a successful night life, and with that new stripper ordinance, officials want to make sure this program doesn't drop off in attendance or the economic boost

Everyone's looking for a piece of that pie - from hotels and restaurants that advertise.  But if some recent billboard and newspaper ads tell a story, it appears those attending the show like an exotic flavor too.

With a new ordinance requiring strippers to wear more; but with fewer freedoms, it begs the question:  if farmers are limited at night with a strip show, will it impact the day's farm show?

"I don't see that happening," Workman said.

They hope that's not the case:  nearly 300,000 people pack the show annually.  Nearly 800 companies set up shop for the 4 day event, often unveiling new equipment in Louisville.

It sprouts a whopping $22 million for the local economy, and officials are confident they will continue to reap the profits.

"We're the fifth largest in the nation for this kind of space, so you can't go to those cities and pick up that kind of space nor the 500 acres that we have," Workman said.

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