FFA opens annual convention on Wednesday - WDRB 41 Louisville News

FFA opens annual convention on Wednesday

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The blue corduroy jackets are back in Louisville.

The giant FFA Convention (formerly the Future Farmers of America) has returned to Louisville for the first time since 2005.

The convention means 60,000 people are in town for the next four or five days.

Most have already arrived.

On Tuesday morning, in Freedom Hall, it was the rehearsal for the official opening ceremonies on Wednesday as the marching band took part in the proceedings.

Meanwhile over in the South Wing the kickoff luncheon was underway.

There are delegates from Alaska to Puerto Rico in Louisville.

Kyle Nesbitt, a sophomore at the University of Idaho, spoke with WDRB News about his trip here.

"I grew up in a small farm town, I am currently raising sheep, my grandparents owned a cattle ranch," he says.

The agricultural education major traveled 2,100 miles to Louisville to attend the convention.

"I plan to go back and get my degree to teach ag students," he says.

Nesbitt is a five year member of the FFA and is now a state officer.

While in Louisville he plans to see the sites here.

"There are tons of museums that I would love to go see here," he explains, "I would love to go see the Louisville Slugger factory; also some sports things, the University of Louisville has really done well in sports the past few years, so maybe I will see the Sugar Bowl and national championship trophies, that would be cool."

Visitors like Kyle are expected to have a $40 million impact on the state and local economy during the next few days.

Hotels within a 60 mile radius of Louisville are booked solid for the convention.

"Louisville hosts several major conventions each year," says the CEO of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Jim Wood, "we host five of the nations top 25 trade shows in America; so bigger conventions like this one are our specialty, from a student standpoint this is the largest student convention in America."

The FFA convention will take over the Expo Center, the International Convention Center in downtown Louisville and even the KFC Yum! Center for a Wednesday night concert.

The FFA appears to be happy to be back in Louisville after an eight year absence.

"When the FFA looks for a city to host a convention it needs safety and security, it needs hospitality," says FFA Communications Specialist Bill Stagg, "and we find all of that in Louisville, it is just a great town for our kids to feel welcome."

The FFA is scheduled to hold its annual convention in Louisville nine of the next 15 years, according to Wood.

"This is blue week in Louisville," says Wood, "not UK blue, but FFA blue.

U of L Basketball Coach Rick Pitino be the keynote speaker at Wednesday's opening ceremonies of the FFA Convention.

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