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2011 South Texas Farm and Ranch Show offers attractions of large shows

By ALLISON MILES
Oct. 26, 2011 at 5:26 a.m.

Kay and Vernon Waida marvel at the latest styles of farm equipment at the Farm and Ranch show. Retired at 80, Waida still runs a few head of cattle, but opted out of farming.

The South Texas Farm and Ranch Show continues Thursday

WHERE: Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St.

WHEN: 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday

COST: Free to view the exhibits, but $5 to attend the programs

FOR MORE INFO: call 361-575-4581 or visit southtexasfarmandranchshow.com.

From school children in metal bleachers to larger-than-life displays and ranchers taking industry training, the Victoria Community Center was abuzz with noisy activity.

The two-day South Texas Farm and Ranch Show kicked off Wednesday, offering attendees a closer look at area agriculture, equipment, techniques and more.

The show started out strong, said Victor Eder, event treasurer.

Vendor locations inside the community center dome were completely full, he said, noting organizers added additional spaces to accommodate numbers. Outdoor spaces were nearly full, too.

"That's the fullest we've been in probably four or five years," Eder said. "It's probably one of the bigger shows we've had in quite a while."

Show organizers expected about 2,000 visitors to attend between Wednesday and Thursday, he said.

It's difficult to know what contributed to this year's growth, Victoria County Extension Agent Joe Janak said, but he suspected it had to do with the event's 27-year reputation.

"Other shows are having to struggle, but ours continues to be one of the best in the state," he said, explaining volunteers, quality exhibitors and more go into the planning. "One of the best in the nation."

Steven Page represented Monty's Plant Food Co. at a booth for this year's show. A first-timer, he said Monty's chose to attend because it was a good way to get the name out to a new region.

On a personal level, the show gave Page, who also works as certified crop adviser, a chance to take in CEU training hours.

"The schedule worked out well," he said. "I started my day at 7 a.m. and, by 10 a.m., was done training. That's when I came to my booth."

Estelle and Carl Marthiljohni walked through the community center arena, examining the towering farm equipment on display.

The husband-wife duo lives in Victoria but also owns land in Karnes County, they said, and attends the show each year.

"The topic is something that interests us," Estelle Marthiljohni said with a shrug. "We're just here to browse."

It's interesting to see the technological updates, her husband said, noting that computers operate most modern farm equipment.

"The things I use look like antiques in comparison," he said with a laugh.

Some other farm and ranch show first-timers Joe and Irma Garcia said they attended because they were interested in a solar pump for their Beeville ranch. They heard a vendor would be on-site, they said, and decided it was worth the hour-long trek to Victoria.

A walk through the arena also led the couple to Kubota farm equipment that caught their eyes.

"It looks like we might be getting that, too," Irma Garcia said.

Joe Garcia said he enjoyed the feel of Victoria's show, noting it felt more personal than similar, larger events in Houston.

"Houston's bigger, a lot bigger," he said, holding his wife's hand. "But this is more fun."

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