Lubbock restaurants and hotels are going to have their hands full with 10,000 visitors gathering in the Hub City from across the state.
The 83rd annual FFA convention begins Tuesday in Lubbock and continues throughout the week.
The line at Fuddrucker's seemed never ending with FFA students hungry for dinner. Parking lot spaces were hard to come by, many filled with caravans from school districts from all over Texas.
"[It took] 12 hours." FFA member Katie Ward continued. "We drove in two Suburbans, 8 in one and 7 in the other."
For thousands of students, it's a chance to meet new people, learn new things, and share experiences.
For Visit Lubbock President John Osborne, the convention is also an opportunity.
"Despite its $4 million direct impact and another $5 million in additional monies, as a result it exposes these children to all of our universities, including Texas Tech," Osborne said.
Lauren Grainger had no idea that her experience at the 2008 Lubbock FFA convention would lead to her enrollment at Texas Tech this coming fall. "When I came here for my first convention, I completely fell in love with the campus," Grainger continued. "Lubbock was so homey and people were so welcoming."
At the previous convention, there was some miscommunication with a few of the hotels. Some students had no place to stay or scrambled to stay at vacant dorms on the Tech campus. FFA Executive Director Tom Meynard says everyone worked hard across the board to ensure that didn't happen this year.
"If anyone who is serious about studying agriculture, this is the place to come," Meynard said. "Lubbock embraces FFA. When teachers and students come here they feel welcome."
Rob Meyer with the Lubbock Hotel and Motel's Association estimates nearly 70 percent of his business at Arbor Inn and Suites will come from the convention this week.
"All the hotels will be sold out. I expect restaurants and shopping malls to be busy," Meyer said.
This is the final year of an agreement that brought the convention to the Hub City but Osborne hopes it won't be the last time.
"Lubbock is very interested in having the FFA convention come back. It's a great fit for Lubbock and we feel like we make them shine as a result of them being here," Osborne said.
FFA members weren't just giving back to the local economy, but the community as well. Several helped with a cleanup effort at Clapp Park Monday. A spokesman also tells us every member was asked to bring canned goods to donate to the South Plains Food Bank.
Stay tuned to KCBD.com and KCBD NewsChannel 11 for the latest on the week's convention.
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