Breeders dominated the buyers of Yorkshire, Poland China, Chester White, Berkshire, Duroc, Landrace, Spotted, Hereford and Hampshire Hogs at an auction in the Small Arena on Saturday morning.
The 101st edition of the Pennsylvania Farm show did not disappoint. The exhibits were bigger and better and the poultry exhibits were back after a one year hiatus due to a fear of Avian Flu early in 2016. It is the nation's largest indoor agriculture event.
Farming and agribusiness is still one of the top industries in Pennsylvania, with more than 62,000 farm families represented and with an impact of more than $67 billion on the economy of the Commonwealth. More than 97 percent of the farms in the state are family owned.
The first show took place in 1917. The annual show is an opportunity for them and scores of other agribusiness related businesses, crafters, artisans, and other related exhibits to display their specialty and for visitors to learn about how the food goes from the farm to the shelf.
The show opened last Friday and will run through Saturday January 14. The massive Farm Show Complex and Expo Center on Cameron Street, between Wildwood Drive and Maclay Streets in Harrisburg is set to accommodate more than 400,000 visitors again this year.
The butter sculpture titled "A Culture of Stewardship" was unveiled last Thursday. The creation, weighing more than 1,000 pounds, was to pay tribute to the history of environmental stewardship by dairy farmers. Jim Victor and Marie Pelton, of Conshohocken, created the mountain of butter that depicts practices to enrich the soil and reduce storm-water runoff. The sculpture was sponsored by the American Dairy Association North East.
The 24-acre complex is loaded with 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits – several from the readership area of the Town and Country newspaper.
Pennsylvania grown foods and wines, along with other goodies are available in the Food Court and throughout the complex. The lines may be long but they move quickly.
Be warned - bring your best walking shoes and plan to spend the day.
And, don't worry about standing or walking all day because in addition to many benches strategically located throughout the exhibit areas and lobbies, there are three arenas with lots of seating and there is always a show or judging event for you to watch while giving your feet a rest.
The arenas seem to be constantly filled with events like livestock judging, rodeo's, square dancing competition, sheep herding, champion horse and pony pulling contest, bull-riding, and much more. Once again, the State Police Mounted Drill Team was on hand to perform on Sunday.
Again this year, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) featured a "Bring History to the Table" scavenger hunt to help enhance the learning experience of the Farm Show. Pick up a copy of the Historical Marker Scavenger Hunt handbook at the PHMC Booth and follow the guide to find the markers.
They also hosted a photo and map exhibit illustrating Pennsylvania's Agricultural History Project, providing an overview of historic farming regions through an understanding of products, labor and land tenure, and buildings and landscapes.
There is still time to visit this year's farm show and enjoy all of the wonderful exhibits of Pennsylvania farming and agribusiness, and taste all of the fantastic foods in the food court. Knowing that all of this experience comes to you courtesy of the Pennsylvania farming industry makes the visit a special event for the entire family to enjoy.
The Farm Show runs through Jan. 14. Competitive exhibits are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturday, Jan. 15 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Commercial exhibits and the food court are open from 9 a.m.to 9 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $15. Handicap parking and visitor drop-off is available along with free shuttle-bus service from satellite parking-lots.
For more information, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us.