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The countdown is on

Tent City came to life Saturday as Heritage Hill exhibitors brought keepsakes like John Losgaard's 'Farm Handy' three-wheeled farm utility, left, to the Farm Tech grounds to exhibit. Losgaard acquired his prize years ago and restored it to reflect a Farmall look -- his favorite.1 / 4
Electrician Bob Matre is working his seventh consecutive Farm Technology Days as the guy responsible for providing juice to everything from tent fans to a 100,000 watt display that feature 1-phase, 100 hp electric motors used to power water pumps and irrigation equipment.2 / 4
Volunteers of every persuasion boarded tram fro a ride around the Farm Tech grounds Saturday morning.3 / 4
The first food tent -- Tent No. 4 -- opened for service about 11 a.m. Saturday to offer cold beverages, sandwiches and snacks to hundreds of volunteers who showed up for training at the Farm Tech grounds. The tent was staffed by members of the Plum City High School FFA chapter under the supervision of a Prom Catering employee.4 / 4

Volunteers and exhibitors worked through the weekend making final preparations for Farm Technology Days, and while rain necessitated temporary closing of some Tent City roads to vehicles, things were rolling along Monday morning.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday with the River Falls High School band playing at the Family Living Tent. All tents and exhibits will open at 9 a.m.

Vendor and exhibitor traffic was "real constant" this morning, said Dan Pearson, chairperson at the Grounds Committee office.

He said a pump was used to drain water off some low spots Sunday, but most of the water drained off or dried on its own.

"Today it looks real good," said Pearson of the area. "Today it's wide open."

He expected exhibitor traffic, especially from smaller vendors, to continue heavily through the day.

Nearly 80 acres of exhibits and hundreds of displays await visitors when FTD opens Tuesday for its three-day run.

The event will be held on the Roger and Bev Peterson family farm two miles southwest of River Falls on Hwy. 29/35.

FTD is an outdoor event that showcases the latest improvements in production agriculture. It is the largest agriculture exposition in Wisconsin and is held each year in a different county and on a different host family farm.

There will also be displays and entertainment by educators, craftspeople and performers. Farmers and non-farmers, including children, will be invited to take tours and visit demonstrations.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, July 20 and 21, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, July 22

Admission is $5 for adults and children 12 and older. There is no charge for younger kids.

General parking, which is free, will be along County Road E just south of Hwy. 29.

Two parking lots on the east side of Tent City can hold over 8,000 vehicles. Also, nearly 330 handicapped parking stalls are provided at the site.

Visitors wanting to avoid the hassle of fighting traffic are invited to use off-site parking at the Pierce County Fairgrounds in Ellsworth and catch a bus to Tent City.

There is parking space for 1,200 vehicles at the fairgrounds. Signs on Hwy. 10 and 63 will direct people to the off-site parking. The bus service will be free to FTD visitors, and the shuttles are scheduled to leave and return to the fairgrounds every 20 minutes.

Driving directions

Coming from Wisconsin (east): Take I-94 to Exit 19/Baldwin; take Exit 19 and go south on Hwy. 63 through Ellsworth to Hwy. 10; go west on Hwy. 10 to Pierce County Road E; go north on Pierce County Road E.

From Minnesota (west): Take I-94 East to Exit 3/ Hwy. 35 to River Falls; take the Exit 3/ Hwy. 35 River Falls south to Cemetery Road; go west on Cemetery Road to Hwy. 29; go south on Hwy. 29 to Pierce County Road E.

From Minnesota via Prescott: U.S. Hwy. 61 south to U.S. Hwy. 10 in Hastings, Minn.; east on Hwy. 10 to Pierce County Road E; north on County Road E.

From Minnesota via Red Wing, Minn.:North on U.S. Hwy. 63 to U.S. Hwy. 10; west on Hwy. 10 to Pierce County Road E; north on Pierce County Road E.