TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – Crowds have returned to the world’s largest agriculture show in Tulare after the pandemic forced it to be held online last year. 

With in-person attendance returning, tourism dollars are once again pouring back into the community too. 

The Tulare Chamber of Commerce says having the World Ag Expo back in person brings money not just to Tulare and the Central Valley, but the state as a whole.

For businesses in Tulare, the World Ag Show is about far more than tractors, trailers, and the latest farm gear.

“It’s like a second Christmas!” explained Melina Maack, the owner of La Piazza Italian Restaurant.

For Maack, the boost in business they see during the Ag show helps her bottom line, and her employees pay their bills.

“Yeah 3 to 4 times busier, we buy so much produce and milk projects,” Maack said.  

Tulare Chamber President Donette Silva Carter says with the Ag show returning in person, the tourism dollars should return with it. Statewide, Carter says over $50 million will come to California, and $30 million will be spent in Tulare County. 

“The people are staying in our hotels, they are filling up their gas tanks, they are going to our local restaurants, looking at some of the other amenities that we have,” said Donnette Silva Carter, Tulare Chamber of Commerce CEO.

In 2020 when the Ag show was held right before the pandemic started, the City of Fresno says even they felt the economic boost. The city saw over $7 million flow into Fresno and a total of $4,410 hotel room nights booked. 

Carter says not only do businesses see the benefits but the Ag show is crucial for the city and county government. 

“We were losing the targeted occupancy tax, we were losing sales tax revenue too which supports our community,” said Silva Carter.  

The World Ag Expo ends on Thursday, February 10.