The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

97th Pa. Farm Show offers new attractions, time-honored favorites


By Donna Rovins, drovins@berksmontnews.com

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It’s a tradition after the first of the year ... The Pennsylvania Farm Show. The eight-day show features the best of Pennsylvania’s agriculture with returning favorites like the butter sculpture. But there’s always something new, as well.
The 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show kicks off this week at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. The event runs from Jan. 5 to 12. The theme this year is “Made in PA. It makes a difference,” and features 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors.
“Pennsylvania’s more than 62,000 farm families and thousands of agribusinesses provide an affordable food supply, keep money in local communities and create jobs,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “The Farm Show is a celebration of their contributions, from the competitive exhibits and demonstrations to the famous food court.”
The unveiling of the butter sculpture and PA Preferred Reception unofficially opened the show on Jan 3. The reception featured Pennsylvania-produced foods and beverages.
The 2013 Farm Show will feature many new attractions, including:
• Cow Patty Bingo – Beautiful bovines place their bets on a giant bingo card at 5:15 p.m. on Jan. 7, in the Large Arena. Purchase $25 squares for the chance to win a Weber grill and beef or Pennsylvania prize packages. Proceeds support the Pennsylvania Farm Show Scholarship Foundation. Call 717-787-5373 to buy a ticket.
• Great Grape Stomp – Two barefoot celebrity teams compete for top vintner honors in the Sale Arena on Jan. 10, at 5:30 p.m. 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 on Jan. 10, at 4:30 p.m. in the Equine Arena.
• New Food Court Items – New offerings include veal meatballs, bacon on a stick, grilled beef sausage sandwich, pumpkin funnel cake, raspberry drink, apple cider slushy and cherry pie.
Returning show highlights include:
• “Today’s Agriculture” – An exhibit in a full-size barn that displays modern production practices used to efficiently and safely produce our food supply.
• “Parade of Agriculture” – During the opening ceremonies on Jan. 5, at 10:30 a.m. representatives from each Farm Show department along with state commodity representatives parade through the Large Arena.
• PA Preferred® Culinary Connection – In addition to cooking demonstrations by local chefs, the stage features Food Network Chef Dave Leiberman and “The World’s Youngest Chef”® Justin Miller. First Lady Susan Corbett leads a demonstration on Jan. 7, at 1 p.m.
• Farm Show Detectives – Young visitors can investigate Pennsylvania agriculture by visiting 28 learning stations around the complex offering hands-on lessons and activities.
• Sale of Champions – Grand Champion market animals sell during a fast-paced, high dollar auction on Jan. 8, at 9:30 a.m. to benefit the Farm Show Scholarship Foundation, which this year awarded its 1 millionth dollar.
• Celebrity Draft Horse Team Driving – Celebrity teams compete in a draft horse team driving competition on Jan. 8, at 6 p.m.
• Celebrity Cow Milking Contest – Always a crowd-pleaser, the contest, on Jan. 11 at 2:30 p.m., features Secretary Greig competing with local media personalities and state legislators.
• Farm Show Favorites – The Sheep-to-Shawl contest, high school rodeo and tractor square dancing are featured attractions, along with the many baking contests like the PA Preferred® chocolate cake contest.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show runs Jan. 5-12 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Jan. 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $10. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessed from nearby Interstate 81.
For more information, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us.