HARRISBURG — Gourds are in. Needlework is out.
Baskets are in. Decorated bowling pins are out.
The Family Living displays feature a fun, creative side of the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show. Here, people from across the state have entered everything from basic pillowcases to a chandelier made of deer antlers.
“We have quite a variety of displays,” said Diana Bissett, Family Living crafts superintendent.
A walk through the department, located in the Main Exhibition Hall, verified this.
The gourds seem to be everywhere. Ann Kroh of New Bloomfield seems especially gifted in gourd art. She made one gourd into a tall mother cat with four small gourds as her kittens. She made another gourd into a polar bear. She painted yet another gourd hot pink and made it a flamingo birdhouse.
Robert Shatto of New Cumberland turned a gourd into a whimsical snowman.
Others entered the hobbies division, making colorful greeting cards (no computer-generated cards permitted), decorating clay flower pots and pincushions, making crafts out of duct tape and making tote bags, purses, ornaments and “mug rugs” also known as coasters.
Amber Grew of Mechanicsburg appeared to have fun in the “Jazzy Jar” contest, turning a Mason jar on its side, painting it and giving it a snout, feet and antlers.
People who sewed, or wished they did, have been looking at the clothing and other handmade items.
“Christmas Blessings,” a colorful and intricately designed quilt made by Cheryl Maulfair of Lebanon, seemed to draw the most of attention in the “Best of Show” winners’ circle.
The textile displays, mostly clothing but also everything from afghans to aprons, seemed a little smaller than usual. Many of the aprons looked decidedly old-fashioned. Several dresses were made in floral patterns while the special occasion dresses were in solid colors. Coats and jackets were in dark, mostly subdued colors.
Emma Boling, Family Living Department canned goods specialist, said the number of Family Living canned good entries increased since last year. Canned good categories are fruit, vegetables, fermented vegetables, jams and jellies.
“A lot of people grow fruit and vegetables, then can them,” she said. “We also got a lot of dried corn this year. That’s good to use in soup.”
Asked if the food category has any unusual entries, Boling smiled.
“Here’s some corn cob jelly,” she said. “Over here we have cherry tomato jam and some peach salsa.”
Youths in the 4-H Opportunities area entered everything from posters to photography and from electricity to entomology.
The Farm Show runs through 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free while parking is $15 a vehicle.