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HARRISBURG — The 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show will open on Saturday with new attractions ranging from a farmers market to craft beer and traditional favorites including horse pulls, square dancing and the sheep-to-shawl contest.

The Farm Show, Pennsylvania’s version of a state fair, will be held Jan. 5-12 in the state Farm Show Complex at Cameron and Maclay streets in Harrisburg. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Monday through Friday, Jan. 11, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12.

Admission is free, but parking is $15 a vehicle at the Farm Show’s on-site lots, its 29-acre parking lot off Elmerton Avenue and at HACC. Handicapped parking is available at all parking lots the Farm Show Complex operates. Free shuttle buses to the complex are included in the parking fees for Elmerton Avenue and HACC.

Billed as the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event and held in the 24-acre Farm Show Complex, the showcase of Pennsylvania’s agriculture attracts about a half million visitors each year. This year’s theme, “Inspiring Pennsylvania’s Story,” will celebrate the contributions of Pennsylvanians past and present to the state’s agricultural industry.

The Farm Show, where Pennsylvanians meet, greet and eat, is part education, part exhibition and part entertainment. The show features thousands of animals including horses, beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, swine, goats, poultry, alpacas and rabbits. The show also includes more than 300 commercial exhibits, several baking contests, displays ranging from cabbage to decorated bowling pins, handmade items from quilts to winter coats and entertainment such as rabbit hopping and rodeos.

Hungry visitors can enjoy the famous Farm Show baked potatoes, pulled pork or milkshakes in the Farm Show Food Court in the Giant Expo Hall.

Representatives from commodity groups also will sell frozen maple yogurt, breaded mushrooms, potato doughnuts, apple dumplings and more. The Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association will sell a new breakfast treat, broccoli and egg sandwiches with either ham or sausage.

Food also can be purchased in the new farmers’ market and in the long-popular Pennsylvania Marketplace.

New attractions at the 2019 Farm Show include:

  • Artisans Alley featuring painters, lace-makers, wheat weavers, pottery-makers and everything from chair caners to braiders of horse hair.
  • Craft beer winners of the first Farm Show craft beer judging. More than 150 beer varieties will compete for top beer honors.
  • Hard cider samples being offered by the Pennsylvania Cider Guild’s booth.
  • Spectacular Seed Art with the first crop art competition in Family Living. Beans and dried seeds will be turned into art.
  • A farmers market inside the Main Exhibition Hall where the Pennsylvania Farmers Market Association and commodity groups will sell everything from vegetables to honey.
  • New judging categories including blue and warty pumpkins, brown and white egg classes and several new rabbit varieties.
  • Cow milking in the Equine Arena on Jan. 11 after the Celebrity Cow Milking Contest.

Returning to the Farm Show after a successful debut in the 2018 show will be the Calving Corner where visitors can watch cows giving birth. Absent this year will be the Farm Show talent show.

The Farm Show will open each day with a winner from the “Oh, Say, Can You Sing?” contest singing the National Anthem. Cooking demonstrations will be featured several times a day at the Culinary Connection in the Main Exhibition Hall, where local and nationally known chefs demonstrate their techniques and offer samples of what they have made.

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