REG-L- Farm Show Virtual Rebecca Kugler TOPIX

Rebecca Kugler, 17, with some of her Corriedale sheep at DeTurk Farms in Oley in August. She shows her award-winning sheep at the Farm Show every year, and had held out a "glimmer of hope" for 2021, despite the pandemic. Kugler is the reigning Pennsylvania lamb and wool queen.

The Department of Agriculture released the schedule for the virtual 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Show on Friday.

Traditionally held at the Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced in August that there would be no in-person events for the Farm Show to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

The virtual events will run from Jan. 11-Jan. 15, with previews and light programming on Jan. 9 and 10.

Events will be streamed both on the Pennsylvania Farm Show's Facebook page and the Pennsylvania Cable Network throughout the week of the show.

Berks producers, who say education of the public is a big part of the show, expressed disappointment but understanding about the show going virtual.

"In January, we will celebrate Pennsylvania agriculture together with the virtual 2021 Farm Show," Redding said in a statement Friday. "We have seen over this extraordinary past year that agriculture is not only an asset to our communities and our economy, but it is absolutely essential to each and every one of our lives."

"In January, we'll introduce you to some of the extraordinary people in the industry who have fed our commonwealth, our nation, and our world through good times and bad," added Redding. "You could learn to cultivate your own garden, or to liven up your meals with inspiration from the virtual Culinary Connection, or how to tie-dye a T-shirt with plants. Just like our agriculture industry, this Farm Show will offer up bounty and variety to enrich your life."

The schedule of events is available at farmshow.pa.gov. Some staples of the show include:

• 4-H demonstrations

• Live ducking pond and beehive cams

• A "Cultivating Tomorrow" panel discussion 

• STEM demonstrations that can be recreated at home with kids

• Culinary demonstrations

• Veteran-farmer stories and ag-themed bedtime stores

• DIY plant-based projects and activities

• Segments about the history of Farm Show

In addition to live and pre-recorded events that will be featured on the Pennsylvania Farm Show Facebook page and the Pennsylvania Cable Network, the Farm Show will host Virtual Exhibits at farmshow.pa.gov. These more than 180 virtual exhibits include videos, activities, and other learning opportunities that range from all things about bluebirds, gourds, and cider to how to cook dried beans, how to raise hogs, or make an apple pie.

Initially, organizers had hoped that the popular Farm Show butter sculpture could still be built at the Expo Center, but on Dec. 8, Redding announced that the butter sculpture was canceled. Sponsored by the American Dairy Association North East, the themed sculpture has served to highlight the dairy industry's importance to Pennsylvania's economy.

Fans can follow the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Instagram, where they'll host 20 takeovers that will take visitors behind the scenes on Pennsylvania's farms. Follow along to learn the innerworkings of everything from goat or poultry farming, to organic agriculture or bees or rabbits. The Instagram takeovers will run from Jan. 9 through Jan. 16.

"We hope that this year's virtual show can offer a whole new perspective on a beloved tradition," said Redding. "We look forward to being welcomed into homes across the commonwealth as we Cultivate Tomorrow."

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