Harrisburg – Thousands of animals, fun and exciting competitions and delicious food are among the many attractions awaiting visitors to the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today.
Set for Jan. 8-15 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, the eight-day show will feature 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 290 commercial exhibitors. It is the largest indoor agricultural exhibition in the United States.
“The Pennsylvania Farm Show provides a unique opportunity to showcase the relationship between the state’s 63,000 farms and 12.5 million residents,” said Redding. “Agriculture touches the lives of every citizen, every day, and this event is a great reminder that we are all part of the agriculture family.”
As a pre-show appetizer, the PA Preferred Reception on Jan. 7 will feature stations offering tastings of Pennsylvania-produced foods and beverages. Tickets for the reception are $30. Registration and payment are due by Dec. 10.
Many new attractions will be added to the 2011 Farm Show, including:
• “Parade of Agriculture” – During the opening ceremonies on Saturday, Jan. 8, representatives from each Farm Show department along with state commodity representatives will parade through the Large Arena;
• New commodity exhibits – As part of the complex renovations, new commodity cases will be relocated into the Main Hall to better showcase the variety and quality of the state’s agricultural products;
• New butter sculpture case – An octagonal case will provide a 360-degree view of the design and will be unveiled with the unique sculpture;
• Live TV taping – “The U.S. Farm Report,” a weekly, syndicated TV news program, will be taped from the Farm Show Expo Hall stage on Wednesday, Jan. 12;
• “Green” improvements – A newly completed, $3.6 million energy savings renovation project includes more energy efficient lighting fixtures, motors and heaters, water-saving devices, and solar systems that provide supplemental hot water and generate energy for the complex.
• Celebrity Draft Horse Team Driving – Celebrity teams will compete in a draft horse team driving competition Tuesday, Jan. 11.
• “Agricadabra” – A high-energy, educational agricultural magic show will be offered each day of the show for kids of all ages.
Returning show highlights include:
• PA Preferred Culinary Connection – In addition to cooking demonstrations, Bravo! TV’s “Top Chef” contestants Ed Cotton and Tiffany Derry and the “World’s Fastest Omelet Maker,” Howard Helmer, will delight visitors.
• Farm Show Detectives – Young visitors can investigate Pennsylvania agriculture by visiting 21 learning stations around the complex that offer hands-on lessons and activities.
• Celebrity Cow Milking Contest – Always a crowd-pleaser, the Jan. 14 contest will feature Secretary Redding competing with local TV personalities and state legislators.
• VIP Dairy Showmanship Contest – Farm Show dairy exhibitors will partner with state legislators to test their dairy showmanship skills Wednesday, Jan. 12.
• Energy Exhibit – The renewable energy exhibit will highlight well-established and exciting new alternative energy sources helping lower energy costs for families and businesses, clean the environment, and strengthen Pennsylvania’s national security by reducing dependence on foreign oil.
• Food Drive – The Agriculture Department, Pennsylvania FFA Alumni and Pennsylvania FFA Association will host a food drive as part of the FFA Mid-Winter Convention on Monday, Jan. 10. Visitors are invited to donate items to be distributed to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
• Farm Show Favorites – The annual butter sculpture, Sheep-to-Shawl contest and the high school rodeo will be featured attractions, along with the many baking contests like the Hershey’s chocolate cake contest.
• Food Court – The sprawling Farm Show Food Court will feature favorites like milkshakes, chicken, beef, pork, mushrooms and potatoes.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show runs from Jan. 8-15 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $10. The Farm Show Complex is easily accessed from nearby Interstate 81.
For a complete schedule of Farm Show events or to make a reservation for the PA Preferred Reception, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us and select the tab for “2011 Show.”