The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is proud to host the best of agriculture at the 98th Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation. Held Jan. 4-11, the show is a reminder that agriculture is a rich part of our heritage and vital to our state’s future.
The show is a source of pride for many Pennsylvanians — especially you, the men, women and children who exhibit your best farm and home products. It’s the tradition, the camaraderie, the education that keeps us coming back year after year.
This year’s edition is themed “Pennsylvania Farms: Growing for You.” We’ll educate nearly 600,000 visitors about how farmers and agribusinesses are growing Pennsylvania by providing an affordable food supply, keeping money in local communities and creating jobs. The Farm Show team has been working all year to bring fresh events, including:
Free Concert — Country artist and Pennsylvania native Ben Gallaher performed a free concert on Friday, Jan. 3. The young singer/songwriter recently finished his first album, which he describes as straight-up country with an edge. Sponsored by PennLive.
Rabbit Hopping Competition — Celebrity guides will lead trained rabbits in a competition of speed and agility as the animals hop obstacles, similar to equine jumping, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, in the Small Arena. Vote for the winning rabbit and you will be entered to win a prize.
Dairy Oxen Demonstration — Learn how settlers used dairy steers to build the nation during dairy oxen demonstrations 8-10 a.m. and noon-2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Christmas in January — Pennsylvania is home to more than 1,000 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.
Perennial favorites will continue throughout show week, including:
Cow Patty Bingo — Beautiful bovines place their bets on a giant bingo card at 5:15 p.m. Monday, 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 — Always a crowd-pleaser, the contest at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, will feature local media personalities and government officials competing in a timed race for the most milk.
Celebrity Draft Horse Team Driving — Celebrity teams will compete in a draft horse team driving competition at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Farm Show Detectives — Young visitors can investigate Pennsylvania agriculture by visiting learning stations around the complex that offer hands-on lessons and activities.
Great Grape Stomp — Two barefoot celebrity teams compete for top vintner honors in relay style to stomp the largest amount of juice from 30 pounds of grapes. Audience members can vote for their favorite team and enter to win prizes.
PA Preferred Culinary Connection — PA Preferred, the official brand of agricultural products grown or made in Pennsylvania, is center stage at the Culinary Connection with cooking demonstrations and contests.
Celebrity Chef Nadia G., hailed as the “Julia Child of the Net Generation” and host of Cooking Channel’s “Bite This with Nadia G,” will host cooking demonstrations at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4.
Also Saturday, chefs will lead teams of radio and television personalities in a challenge to create entrees that showcase local products in the PA Preferred Chef and Media Cook-off.
First lady Susan Corbett and governor’s residence executive chef Barry Crumlich will whip up a residence favorite at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6.
Parade of Agriculture — During Opening Ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, representatives from each Farm Show department along with state commodity representatives will parade through the Large Arena.
Today’s Agriculture — An exhibit in a full-size barn that displays modern production practices used to efficiently and safely produce our food supply.
New this year are forage crops, discussion on genetically modified food and a first-hand look at the relationship between Marcellus shale and agriculture.
Farm Show week will be packed full of fun and education for everyone. I’m looking forward to a milkshake, seeing some new farm equipment and meeting friends.
I know my wife, Christine, is excited to judge some of the contests. Whatever your interests, there’s something for everyone. For a complete schedule, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us.
George Greig is the Pennsylvania secretary of agriculture.