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Harrisburg ­- Tucked in the family living section of the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show is an artful display of painted animals, birdhouses, ornaments and other intricately detailed knickknacks - all made from gourds.

The Pennsylvania Gourd Society entertains show visitors with a display of their creations and live demonstrations, all in the Main Hall of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

Crystal Lemmon of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, represented the society on Thursday, Jan. 13, giving background on gourds and their uses during a demonstration.

Lemmon said there are 24 standard types of gourds, but because of their cross-breeding abilities, there are many other shapes and sizes of gourds.

"Anything and everything," Lemmon clarified when questioned on the uses of gourds. 

Loofahs, or bath and kitchen sponges, are dried gourd products made from stripping the hard shell on the outside from the rough insides of the gourd.

Many other arts and crafts can be made from this fruit, including Christmas ornaments, bowls, jewelry and birdhouses, all of which are on display at the Farm Show. These crafted gourds must be dried before being used as a canvas or other kind of decoration. Lemmon discussed burning designs into the gourds for a unique look, along with sanding, painting, and carving and chipping designs.

Other demonstrations held at the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show today were:

Stage I:
"Chainsaw Safety" ­- Somerset CTC
"Welding Safety" ­- Somerset CTC
"Horse Safety" ­- Somerset CTC
"How to Make a Fall Flower Centerpiece" ­- Faust Jr. High School
"Fishing" ­- Faust Jr. High School
"Farm Fire Safety" ­-  Faust Jr. High School
Wood demonstration ­- PA Chestnut Foundation
Covered Bridges ­- History, Don Billitt
Braiding of Hair ­- Victorian Hair Jewelry
Arthunting ­- Wildlife art, Steve Burrik

Stage II:
Crafting of Lace ­-  Keystone Lace Guild
Spinning and weaving ­- Terry Kunst
Shavers Creek Environmental Center ­- Wildlife demonstration
PA Square Dancing
Barn Savers ­- Barn Restoration, John High

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 290 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 8-15 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $10.

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For photos of the event, click here.