Jill Ingalls likes to ask a pointed question of Willamette Valley Ag Expo visitors.
“What’s more fun that eating an amazing Dine Around Oregon dinner featuring Oregon products while surrounded with 850 of your friends in agriculture?” Ingalls, manager of the Willamette Valley Ag Association, asks.
The association guides the production of the yearly Expo.
She then answers her own question:
“Why, walking from building to building full of displays and services that cater to the agriculture industry!”
Dine Around Oregon is the featured evening event on Wednesday, Nov. 13, during the Expo and “is intended to provide a social and networking activity to bring the community together,” she said.
Sponsors and vendors help reduce the cost of the catered meal, making tickets available for $12. The cost of a comparable restaurant meal would be closer to the $30 mark.
“We work with the amazing Valley Catering crew — who are so accommodating and flexible as we change up the menu and food offerings each year,” Ingalls said.
Some of the contributors include the Oregon Dairy Women, the Oregon Beef Council, Reed Anderson Ranches and Pat Manning Farm, all of whom provide an array of products and preparations for the meal.
The Cascade Building will feature music from the Old Time Fiddlers Association along with the buffet line, she said.
Participants in the antique farm equipment show also plan their evening gathering during that time and the building is bustling with people, food and music.
The Santiam Building classroom will become the dining room for that building and will fill to capacity.
Pat Manning will prepare and cook Anderson Ranches lamb and work with Valley Catering to serve it as the featured dish there.
Oregon dairy princesses will greet folks in the Calapooia Building, ready with samples of cheese and a line up of goodies, Ingalls said. “The dining area on the deck of the building offers a great view of the giant equipment housed there.”
A beer garden will be open during the Expo, but becomes even more popular during the Dine Around Oregon activities.
Beef is the main ingredient in the Willamette Building, along with the offerings of a full bar in the lobby.
“No matter which building you start in, you’re going to be challenged to eat everything offered,” Ingalls said. “It’s more than a full meal, it’s a great time to catch up with your neighbors, see some amazing new technology and experience the history of the agriculture industry as well.”
Tickets are available only online and in advance. They normally sell out quickly, so Ingalls urges Expo-goers to “go to www.wvaexpo.com and get yours today.”