The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is proud to host the best of agriculture at the 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation. To be held Jan. 5-12, the show is a reminder that agriculture is a rich part of our heritage and vital component of the state’s future.
The 2013 show is themed, “Made in PA. It makes a difference” and will educate more than 400,000 visitors about how farmers are growing a sustainable and reliable financial future for Pennsylvania. Our more than 63,000 farm families and thousands of agribusinesses provide an affordable food supply, keep money in local communities and create jobs.
William Penn began Pennsylvania’s farm show tradition with the first statewide agricultural event as early as 1686 in Philadelphia. While the event is bigger and the crowds are larger, few things have changed: Producers are still showing their best animals, produce and farm products; crowds still gather to enjoy a taste of rural Pennsylvania; and the event continues to spark relationships and ideas.
The Farm Show team has been working all year to bring fresh attractions to the event, including:
Concert — Country artist Neil McCoy will kick off the Farm Show at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, with a concert in the Large Arena. Tickets are $15 general admission and are available at www.ticketweb.com. The Food Court will open at noon.
Cow Patty Bingo — Beautiful bovines will 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 a Weber grill and beef or Pennsylvania prize packages by calling 717-787-5373. Proceeds support the Pennsylvania Farm Show Scholarship Foundation.
Great Grape Stomp — Two barefoot celebrity teams will compete for top vintner honors in the Sale Arena on Thursday, Jan. 10. Audience members can vote for their favorite team and enter to win a winery tour.
Polo Demonstration — “The Sport of Kings” comes to the Pennsylvania Farm Show during a polo demonstration at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, in the Equine Arena.
New Food Court Items — New offerings include veal meatballs, bacon on a stick, grill beef sausage sandwich, pumpkin funnel cake, raspberry drink, apple cider slushy and cherry pie.
Perennial favorites will continue throughout show week, including:
Opening Ceremonies and the Parade of Agriculture at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, in the Large Arena
Square Dance Parade and Contest 7-9 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 7, in the Large Arena
Celebrity Draft Horse Team Driving at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, in the Equine Arena
Sheep-to-Shawl at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, in the Sale Arena
Celebrity Cow Milking Contest at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, in the Equine Arena
Farm Show Detectives, featuring 28 hands-on learning stations scattered throughout the complex. Open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.
The Farm Show Scholarship Foundation will celebrate $1 million awarded through scholarships to agricultural youth during its awards program at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, in the Sale Arena, followed by the Sale of Champions at 9:30 a.m.
PA Preferred, the official branding program of agricultural products grown or made in Pennsylvania, is center stage at the Culinary Connection with cooking demonstrations and contests.
New sponsors Weis Markets and Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association will highlight Pennsylvania products during the PA Preferred Celebrity Best Cheeseburger Showdown and cooking demos using local ingredients by “The World’s Youngest Chef” Justin Miller and Food Network’s Dave Leiberman. First lady Susan Corbett will be on stage at 1 p.m. Monday.
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.
Join me for the 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show and learn why made in Pennsylvania really does make a difference.
George Greig is the Pennsylvania secretary of agriculture.