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FTD visitors invited to use Ellsworth parking

Farm Technology Days (FTD) visitors wanting to avoid the hassle of fighting traffic are invited to park at the Pierce County Fairgrounds in Ellsworth and catch a bus to Tent City.

"It'll be like going to the state fair," said Dale Hines, co-chairman of the FTD Parking Committee. He said people can conveniently park at the fairgrounds, hop on a bus, have someone else worry about the final navigation and be dropped off right at a main admissions gate.

The show is Tuesday through Thursday, July 20-22, at the Peterson farm, near River Falls at the intersection of Hwy. 29-35 and CTH E.

Organizers are preparing for 80,000 visitors over the three-day run. That volume can snarl traffic, according to experience in earlier years in other counties.

It's difficult to tell how many will attend this year.

"It's kind of hard to guesstimate with the weather," said Hines, and he wondered if the event will draw a lot of people from the Twin Cities.

In any case, those who have worked with FTD and similar events are predicting bottlenecks through River Falls.

Hines said 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.

The trip from Ellsworth to Tent City is about 14 miles.

"They're taking the scenic route to get there," said Hines. He said the buses will travel Hwy. 65 and cut across on Forestville Road to 710th to a main FTD gate.

"It's definitely a taste of Pierce County when you go that way," said Hines.

Treasure Island is donating the use of two 55-passenger buses, and the Parking Committee has an agreement with the Ellsworth School District to use as many buses as needed.

"This show is cheap," concluded Hines. With free parking, a bus ride and shuttles, the only entrance expense is the $5 admission charge for people age 12 and older.