Many of the attendees said they came for the free lunch - and the long line for the catered meal proved it.

But it was evident that area residents attending the Ag Expo on Wednesday were also enjoying visiting with each other and cruising the booths.

This is the 17th year for the event hosted by TriCounty Agribusiness Association featuring agricultural and wildlife businesses and services. Freebies were abundant and lots of people were taking advantage of the bags, pens, pencils, magnetic refrigerator pads and candy many of the booths were offering.

Eight-year-old Morgan DiCiccio of Dublin said she came strictly to see the horses.

“My favorite kind of farm animal is mostly horses, DiCiccio said.

DiCiccio said she thought attending the event was better than school, but added, “I do like school just so I can see my teacher.

DiCiccio lives on a dairy farm and attended with her grandmother, Barbara, and her baby brother, Ryan. She also claimed to have at home the “only big cow that can give hugs back with her neck.

The family was planning on viewing the parade of horses held in the afternoon and judging from DiCiccio's glowing face, it was a much-anticipated affair - one probably well worth a day of makeup schoolwork.

The exhibits open today at 10 a.m. with a $1 admission fee.

And the best part? A free breakfast beginning at 9:30 a.m. - where the lines are sure to be long once again.

ANGELIA JOINER is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at angelia.joiner@empiretribune.com or 254-965-3124, ext. 238.