Harrisburg - Agriculture Secretary George Greig invites Pennsylvanians to celebrate agriculture - from farm gate to dinner plate - during the 96th Pennsylvania Farm Show, set for Jan. 7-14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.
The eight-day show, the largest indoor agricultural exhibition in the nation, will feature 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors.
"The Pennsylvania Farm Show provides a unique opportunity to showcase the great work being done by the state's more than 63,000 farm families to produce quality and safe agricultural products," said Greig. "Whether it's the thousands of animals, exciting competitions or delicious food, the Farm Show is affordable, educational and fun for Pennsylvanians of any age."
The unveiling of the butter sculpture and PA PreferredTM Reception will kick off the show on Thursday, Jan 5. The reception will feature Pennsylvania-produced foods and beverages. Tickets for the reception are $30.
Many new attractions will be added to the 2012 Farm Show, including:
• Pre-show Food Court - The Farm Show's famous Food Court will open a day early, starting at 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6. Parking is free only on Jan. 6.
• New Family Living exhibitions - As part of the complex renovations, the Family Living area in the Main Hall has been renovated to better showcase homemade food items and handmade wares.
• Today's Agriculture display - Today's Agriculture, an exhibit in a full-size barn, is a collaboration between agricultural industry groups to showcase modern production practices used to efficiently and safely produce our food supply.
• Historical Marker Scavenger Hunt - Search for 22 replica historical markers throughout the complex and learn how Pennsylvania is the "Land of Penn and Plenty" as Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission markers bring history to the table.
• Food Court specialties - In addition to long-time favorites, the food court will feature three new items - a PA PreferredTM pizza with Pennsylvania ingredients, grilled cheese sandwiches and tender barbecue brisket sandwiches.
• Butterfly House - Visitors can see and learn about butterflies for a small fee, which supports the Friends of Farm Show Foundation.
Returning show highlights include:
• "Parade of Agriculture" - During the opening ceremonies on Saturday, Jan. 7, representatives from each Farm Show department along with state commodity representatives will parade through the Large Arena.
• PA Preferred Culinary Connection - In addition to cooking demonstrations, the stage will feature Bravo! TV's "Top Chef All-Stars" contestant Mike Isabella.
• Farm Show Detectives - Young visitors can investigate Pennsylvania agriculture by visiting 22 learning stations around the complex that offer hands-on lessons and activities.
• Celebrity Draft Horse Team Driving - Celebrity teams will compete in a draft horse team driving competition Tuesday, Jan. 10.
• VIP Dairy Showmanship Contest - Farm Show dairy exhibitors will partner with state legislators to test their dairy showmanship skills Wednesday, Jan. 11.
• Celebrity Cow Milking Contest - Always a crowd-pleaser, the contest, on Friday, Jan. 13, will feature Secretary Greig competing with local TV 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 Hershey's chocolate cake contest.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show runs Jan. 7-13 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 a complete schedule of Farm Show events or to make a reservation for the PA PreferredTM Reception, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us and select the tab for "2012 Show."
Editor's Note: Because the Farm Show has not been held annually, it is incorrect to describe the 2012 event as the 96th annual show - it is simply the 96th show.