FFA delegates arriving in Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

FFA delegates arriving in Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Look for those familiar blue corduroy jackets this week in Louisville.

More than 60,000 FFA members are arriving in Louisville for their annual convention. They will have a huge impact on the area's hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and even local charities.

Although the convention doesn't actually begin until Wednesday at the Exposition Center, a lot of delegates arrived during the weekend.

Among those were 65 from the Texas delegation who on Monday morning were visiting the Louisville Slugger Museum on Main Street in downtown Louisville. They arrived Sunday and had dinner in Jeffersonville Sunday evening.

"We just left Churchill Downs before coming here to Slugger Museum," said Shannon Butler, an FFA area officer from Texas.

The museum expects as many as 4,000 FFA visitors a day for the next five or six days.

"These kids are great, they are so well behaved, we hope they have a great time here," said P.J. Shelley, tour director for the museum.

The delegates will spend their own money to visit a number of local attractions, including the Slugger Museum.

According to the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, there are about 600 conventions in Louisville each year with an economic impact of $1.4 billion.

"FFA will, by far, be the largest convention with an economic impact of some $40 million," said Stacey Yates of the bureau, "and to put that into perspective, the second largest will have an impact of $17 to $18 million."

The 60,000 visitors to the city this week will be staying in 136 hotels within a 60-mile radius of Louisville.

While here, many delegates will also be participating in thousands of hours of volunteer work, helping non-profit organizations like Dare to Care and and YouthBuild.

On Monday, the work continued, with delegates setting up the convention inside Freedom Hall and in the exhibition halls for the start of the convention on Wednesday.

A luncheon will be held on Tuesday at the Expo Center for early arrivals.

Many of the participants in the convention pursue careers in agribusiness and related fields.

"I am actually going into the horse vet field," said Butler. "So, who knows? Maybe someday I'll have a Kentucky Derby horse."

The FFA has 7,665 local FFA chapters in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands and is made up of 610,240 students.

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