By Nikki Krize,
The 97th annual Pennsylvania Farm Show gets underway in Harrisburg on Saturday. It pays tribute to the state’s number one industry, agriculture.
“Everything from the rodeos to the horse pulling contest. We have the competitive aspect of it, which is the animals that are competing against each other,” said Patrick Kerwin, Farm Show Executive Director.
The theme for this year’s farm show focuses on products grown and processed in PA.
“We’re encouraging all of our visitors to think about this as they go to the grocery store and select PA products,” said Kerwin.
This year’s farm show has some new additions. Wineries from all over Pennsylvania compete in different categories, and people who come to the farm show can taste and buy the wines.
“This year they completely revised that whole department, so now more wineries will be able to give you samples and that kind of thing,” said Beverly Gruber.
In addition to the expanded wine-tasting area, another new activity that will take place in the small arena is Cow Patty Bingo. Also there will be a celebrity grape stomping competition at the farm show.
Around 8,000 animals will be competing at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg this year, and there will be more than 10,000 exhibits. People spent the day setting up their juiciest apples, sweetest honey and grooming their prized cattle.
Ginger Woolcock of Woolcock Farms in Columbia County, has come to the farm show since 1988. She said a lot of hard work goes into preparing her cattle. Everything from training the calves to walk next to her, to putting them on special diets.
“Then you start getting their hair ready to go to the farm show. That means washing, rinsing, in the cold weather you mist it,” said Woolcock.
In addition to setting up the displays and prepping the animals, food vendors have been at the farm show complex since before Christmas getting their stands ready.
“All this has to be brought in and set up and assembled,” said William Troxell.
The Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association is based out of Snyder County. A group of volunteers will serve deep-fried vegetables and pumpkin funnel cake to many of the 400,000 or so people who will attend the farm show.
“All together it’s over 200 people who volunteer. To make it go we need about 20-30 here at a time,” said Troxell.
The vendors said all of the preparations are worth it. Woolcock said it is a good way to sell cattle, and she gets to see her “farm show family.”
“A lot of the people you only see when you’re at a farm show. In fact, I’ve got friends coming on Sunday that used to come to the farm show and haven’t been here in about 10 years. We’re looking forward to a reunion,” said Woolcock.
The event starts on Saturday and lasts eight days. Admission is free, but parking is $10.