HARRISBURG, Pa. — Traditionally held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, for health and safety reasons this year, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has planned a “virtual” Farm Show online, instead of in-person, since Pennsylvania residents continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full schedule of Farm Show events will be held online from Monday, Jan. 11, through Friday, Jan. 15, with previews and light programming running today, Jan. 9, and Sunday, Jan. 10.
“We hope that this year’s virtual show can offer a whole new perspective on a beloved tradition,” said Ag Secretary Russell Redding. “We look forward to being welcomed into homes across the commonwealth as we Cultivate Tomorrow.”
The full schedule of events is available on the internet at farmshow.pa.gov.
A diverse bounty of live and pre-recorded events will be available on the Farm Show’s Facebook page and on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Tune in to watch an alpaca obstacle course, tour a farm, learn to make butter or tie dye with plants, find a new favorite Pennsylvania pairing of food and wine, hear discussions about Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry, dinner inspiration from local chefs and farmers, or ag-themed bedtime stories and more. Some events require advanced registration.
In addition, the Farm Show will host virtual exhibits at farmshow.pa.gov. These more than 180 virtual exhibits include videos, activities and other learning opportunities that range from all things about bluebirds, gourds and cider, to how to cook dried beans, how to raise hogs, or make a blue ribbon-winning apple pie.
Some staples of the virtual Pennsylvania Farm Show include:
• The traditional kick-off of each day with the national anthem.
• 4-H demonstrations.
• Live duckling pond and beehive cams.
• A Cultivating Tomorrow panel discussion series.
• STEM demonstrations that can be recreated at home with kids.
• Culinary demonstrations.
• Veteran-farmer stories.
• DIY plant-based projects and activities.
• Segments about the history of Farm Show.
• Bedtime stories and more.
To immerse yourself in Pennsylvania agriculture, you can follow the Pennsylvania Farm Show on the social media platform Instagram, where it will host 20 Instagram “takeovers” that will take you behind the scenes on Pennsylvania’s farms. Follow along to learn the inner workings of everything from goat or poultry farming, to organic agriculture or bees or rabbits. The Instagram takeovers will run from Jan. 9-16.
This year, you will be able to locate your favorite Pennsylvania Farm Show booths and exhibitors in your area using the new “Pennsylvania Farm Show Trail.” It is a map that features the commercial exhibitors and PA Preferred members found at the traditional on-site Pennsylvania Farm Show. The interactive map is searchable by keyword (for example, search for the words: dairy, steak, honey, apples, wine or alpaca fiber) or by browsing the map online to see what’s available in your own hometown. The map features storefronts, such as farmers markets, and businesses with e-commerce platforms. Everything from beer or fresh produce to pet food and fiber products or hand-crafted artisan products is included. Visit farmshow.pa.gov/trail to find the map.
“We will celebrate Pennsylvania agriculture together with the virtual 2021 Farm Show,” said Redding. “We have seen over this extraordinary past year that agriculture is not only an asset to our communities and our economy, but it is absolutely essential to each and every one of our lives. ... We’ll introduce you to some of the extraordinary people in the industry who have fed our commonwealth, our nation, and our world through good times and bad.
“Just like our agriculture industry, this Farm Show will offer up bounty and variety to enrich your life.”