HARRISBURG – After frigid temperatures, snow and downright gloomy weather, it’s time to warm up with free and fun entertainment at the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Visitors to this year’s extravaganza can watch everything from square dancing (both people and tractors) to bull riding at rodeos to rabbit hopping. Most visitors leave the Farm Show feeling educated, entertained, somewhat tired and almost always well fed.
The Farm Show, Pennsylvania’s version of a state fair, will be held in the state Farm Show Complex at Cameron and Maclay streets from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 13.
Admission is free but parking is $15 a vehicle in the Farm Show lots off of Elmerton Avenue and at HACC. Free shuttle service and handicapped parking are available.
“The Farm Show is a celebration of food, fuel and fiber from the farm to you,” said state Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding. “Take it all in, meet some new friends and enjoy the 2018 Pennsylvania Farm Show.”
The Farm Show, billed as the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, includes nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors.
The Family Living Department in the Main Exhibition Hall has typical exhibits including canned peaches, colorful quilts, beaded purses, dried parsley and grapevine wreaths. It also has quirky ones – decorated bowling pins, duct tape crafts, embellished potholders, muzzleloader posters, puppets, gourd bird houses and fruit leather.
While visiting the Family Living Department, take a ride on the wooden carrousel. Then head to the other end of the Main Exhibition Hall to visit the PA Preferred Culinary Connection where chefs offer cooking lessons and free samples for each of eight days.
Special chefs this year include Alex Guarnaschelli, a judge on Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Iron Chef”; John Moeller, former White House chef; and Barry Crumlich, long-time executive chef at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence.
For those who want to learn more about cooking and kitchen safety, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will have its Food Safety Discovery Zone exhibit as part of its national tour. The 40-foot long multimedia demonstration kitchen on wheels teaches adults and children about preventing foodborne illnesses at home.
Want to take specialty food items home? Shop at the Pennsylvania Marketplace for everything from spices to Lebanon bologna to potato chips. If you’re hungry right now, visit the Food Court in the Weis Expo Hall or the Food Court Annex in the Main Exposition Hall.
Be sure to enjoy the legendary Farm Show entertainment – which includes Cumberland County’s own 4-H Club Drill Team, which has been mesmerizing audiences for more than six decades or the “Farm Show’s Got Talent” show, where local performers enjoy competing.