FFA Convention having positive impact on local attractions - WDRB 41 Louisville News

FFA convention having positive impact on local attractions

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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- The 86th National FFA Convention and Expo is in town for four days and is expected to bring close to 60,000 people to the city.

The students will spend most of their time at the expo and convention centers but in between sessions, many groups are taking time to see the sights, which is good news for local attractions.

"We added 13 cruises to accommodate the FFA students this week and we've already sold out on a lot of our cruises," said Betty Cissel, sales manager for Belle of Louisville and Spirit of Jefferson.

Cissel says they've extended their season just because of the convention.

"Adding 13 cruises, about 4,000 students and they are the best kids in the world. We're just happy they're back in Louisville again," she said.

"We're gonna go on the boat and eat dinner and enjoy the ride," said Tyler Hamilton, an FFA student from Arkansas.

And more visitors means more hours for employees.

"We employ some people longer because we have some seasonal employees," explained Cissel.

That also means more money.

"We're hoping $30 to $40,000 maybe more," she said.

Tyler Hamilton and his FFA group are visiting from Arkansas.

They're trying to see as many Louisville attractions as they can in just a few days.

"I enjoyed going to the racetrack and Louisville Slugger," Hamilton told WDRB.

Louisville Slugger even broke an all time attendance record Wednesday, hosting more than 5,000 visitors.

"And we might even break that record Thursday or Friday this week," said Executive Director Anne Jewell.

Jewell says they change their whole operation when FFA is in town.

"We change the way we do tours. We extend our hours. We're open 12 hours a day 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for three days. We bring in extra staff and we even open an additional store on site," she said.

Jewell says planning ahead has paid off.

"It's like having an entire extra month condensed into about five days. An entire extra month of business and it's really terrific for us."

The convention ends November 2.

Louisville will host the convention through 2015.

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

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