Agriculture Secretary George Greig invites Pennsylvanians to celebrate agriculture during the 98th Pennsylvania Farm Show, being held from Jan. 4 to 11 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.
The eight-day show, themed “Pennsylvania Farms: Growing for You,” features 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors.
“Pennsylvania’s more than 62,000 farm families and thousands of agribusinesses provide an affordable food supply, keep money in local communities and create jobs,” Greig said. “The Farm Show is a celebration of their contributions, from the competitive exhibits and demonstrations to the famous Food Court.”
The unveiling of the 1,000-pound butter sculpture is on Jan. 2, at 11 a.m. The PA Preferred Farm Show Reception at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 3 features Pennsylvania-produced foods and beverages. The show will feature many new attractions, including:
• A free concert by country artist and Pennsylvania native Ben Gallaher on Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m. The young singer/songwriter recently finished his first album, which he describes as "straight up country with an edge."
• Rabbit-hopping competition, with celebrity guides leading trained rabbits in a competition of speed and agility as the animals hop obstacles, similar to equine jumping, at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 5, in the small arena. Vote for the winning rabbit and you will be entered to win a prize.
• Celebrity Chef Nadia G. is the "Julia Child of the Net Generation,” and the creator/host of two Cooking Channel series featuring accessible haute cuisine using fresh, local ingredients. See her on the PA Preferred Culinary Connection stage Jan. 4 at noon and 2 p.m.
• New food court items include maple mustard, lemonade, salad dressing, barbecue sauce and hard candy, berry funnel cake, hot beef sausage, beef and cheddar sandwich and a steak and egg breakfast burrito. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Farm Show milkshake.
• Christmas in January: Pennsylvania is home to nearly 1,600 Christmas tree farms, and this year a new display of the state’s best live trees will have visitors pining for a real tree next holiday season. See it in the Main Hall.
• Dairy oxen demonstration: Learn how settlers used dairy steers to build the nation during a dairy oxen demonstration on Jan. 7 from 8 to 10 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m.
Returning show highlights include:
• Cow patty bingo: Bovines place their bets on a giant bingo card at 5:15 p.m. on Jan. 7 in the Large Arena. Purchase $25 squares for the chance to win $100 or PA Preferred prize packages. Proceeds support the Pennsylvania Farm Show Scholarship Foundation. Call 717-787-5373 for tickets.
• Celebrity cow-milking contest is on Jan. 10, at 2:30 p.m., featuring secretary Greig competing with local media personalities and state legislators.
• During the Great Grape Stomp, two barefoot celebrity teams compete for top vintner honors in relay style, stomping the largest amount of juice from 30 pounds of grapes. The event is on Jan. 9 at 5:30 p.m. Audience members can vote for their favorite team and enter to win prizes.
• Celebrity draft horse team driving: Celebrity teams compete in a driving competition Jan. 7 at 6 p.m.
• “Today’s Agriculture”: An exhibit in a full-size barn of modern production practices used to efficiently and safely produce our food supply. New this year are forage crops, discussion of genetically modified foods, and a first-hand look at the relationship between Marcellus shale and agriculture.
• The “Parade of Agriculture,” during opening ceremonies on Jan. 4 at 10:30 a.m., features representatives from each Farm Show department, along with state commodity representatives, in the Large Arena.
• Farm Show detectives: Young visitors can investigate Pennsylvania agriculture by visiting learning stations around the complex that offer hands-on lessons and activities.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show runs from Jan. 4 to 10 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Jan. 11 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $10. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessed from Interstate 81. For more information, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us.