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Farm Show adds some new entertainment to the lineup

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Sheep to Shawl 2020

Hoyt Emmons of For The Love of Ewe participates in the Sheep to Shawl competition at the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

HARRISBURG – The 106th Pennsylvania Farm Show will be both familiar and different to those attending the eight-day extravaganza this year.

Familiar entertainment including sheep-to-shawl competition, rodeos, square dancing, horse pulling and bid calling are on the agenda.

New this year will be a cornhole tournament, country line dance-off and a canine spectacular in which dogs show off their intelligence, agility and speed.

Also new will be the thousands of people potentially wearing masks and being encouraged to stop by the Pennsylvania Department of Health for COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots (along with flu shots) if they haven’t had them yet.

The Farm Show, Pennsylvania’s version of a state fair, will be held in the state Farm Show Complex at Cameron and Maclay streets in Harrisburg from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Monday through Jan. 14, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 15.

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.

Visitors will notice wider aisles to alleviate crowding, free masks and more hand sanitizing stations. Farm Show officials and state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said they take COVID-19 very seriously as Pennsylvania experiences a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

“Attendance at the Farm Show is a personal choice,” Redding said. “Masks are strongly encouraged (but not required) and available throughout the complex.” He said that “this isn’t the year to attend the Farm Show” for people concerned about their health or that of vulnerable family members and suggested that they watch coverage of it on PCN and follow other news and social media outlets.

Redding noted that Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 vaccination rate of 74% “doesn’t remove the risk but does mitigate it.” He also said the Farm Show Complex has better air flow this year due to the upgraded HVAC system.

The 24-acre Farm Show Complex will buzz with the livestock and commodity judging, baking contests, cooking demonstrations from visiting chefs and free samples. Visitors can even watch calves be born at the Calving Corner.

Penn Ag Industries, a large Food Court presence most years, pulled out of this year’s Farm Show due to health and staffing concerns, but the Food Court will have something for every taste. Hot vegetable soup, cheesesteak sandwiches, crispy fried mushrooms, and gooey toasted cheese sandwiches will warm visitors. Three flavors of sweet milkshakes, rich maple sundaes and cider doughnuts will delight their sweet appetites.

Family Living will feature birdhouses and bookmarks, puppets and posters, crocheted sweaters and canned sweet cherries and thousands of other entries. Visitors also can expand their cooking horizons at the PA Preferred Culinary Connection where chefs offer cooking lessons and free samples for each of eight days.

Special daily entertainment includes:

Saturday: Pennsylvania High School Rodeo Association Championship Rodeos at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the Large Arena; apple pie contest at 9:30 a.m.; cookie, brownie and bar cookie contest at 2 p.m.; homemade chocolate cake contest at 4 p.m., all in the Main Exposition Hall; and fashion show at 5 p.m. in the Banquet Hall.

Sunday: Cowboy church service at 9:30 a.m. in the New Holland Arena; State Police Mounted Drill Team, 10:30 a.m. in the New Holland Arena; and angel food cake contest at noon and jam/jelly bar contest at 4 p.m., both in the Main Exposition Hall

Monday: Pennsylvania State FFA Association Convention, 2 p.m. in the New Holland Arena; and square dance competition at 7 p.m. in the New Holland Arena.

Tuesday: Alpaca show, 8 to 11 a.m., Equine Arena; mini horse and mini mule pulling at 9 a.m. in the New Holland Arena; Sale of Champions at 9:30 a.m. in the Small Arena; horse pulling at 1:30 p.m. in the New Holland Arena; Pennsylvania’s Greatest Whoopie Pie Contest at 4 p.m. in the Main Exhibition Hall; and Cornhole Competition at 5:30 p.m. in the New Holland Arena.

Wednesday: Youth fleece to shawl contest at 10 a.m. in the Small Arena; youth pedal tractor pull at 12:30 p.m. in the Equine Arena; sheep-to-shawl contest at 3 p.m. in the Small Arena; and bid calling contest at 5:30 p.m. in the Banquet Hall.

Thursday, Jan. 13: Horse shoe pitching demo and contest at 8 a.m. in the Equine Arena; exceptional rodeo at 1 p.m. in the New Holland Arena; Army vs. Navy cook-off at 1 p.m. in the Main Exhibition Hall; and canine spectacular at 6 p.m. in the Equine Arena.

Friday, Jan. 14: Class time with a rodeo clown, 11 a.m. in the New Holland Arena; Supreme champion of dairy breeds, 2 p.m. in the Equine Arena; Cumberland County 4-H Club Drill Team at 3:30 p.m. in the Equine Arena; and sticky bun contest at 5 p.m. in the Main Exposition Hall.

Saturday, Jan. 15: Tractor restoration, 9 a.m. on the Lancaster Farming Stage; and lumberjack demonstration and competition at 2:30 p.m. in the Equine Arena. The Farm Show closes at 5 p.m.

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