Saturday, January 11, 2014

The PA Farm Show

Thursday we attended the PA Farm Show in Harrisburg. It's the largest indoor farm show in the country and, according to the web site, has "nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits"! We hadn't gone in a few years but I always watch the week long coverage on PCN. It's so nice to have something like this to break up the winter, I really look forward to it each year!

Each year, in the main hall, they have a giant butter sculpture. It's made with nearly 1000 pounds of butter!  This years sculpture featured people drinking milk shakes and a couple of dancing cows! It's kept in a refrigerated glass case to keep the butter cold.

Also in the main hall is tons of exhibits from bee keepers, wood carvers, maple producers (we saw a really nice sap boiler), wool weavers, painters, pottery makers, the list goes on and on. I got to talk to a lady from the PA Gourd Society and found out that my gourds that I thought I ruined because they froze in the garage are actually fine and should dry perfectly! In fact she told me that often the gourds are left in the garden and harvested the following spring! I didn't know that!

You can also see displays from all the contests from fruit and vegetable growers, hand sewn cloths, pies and cakes, canned goods, bread, honey, photography, maple syrup, etc! For many of them, locals enter their county fair and the winners are then eligible to enter here at the state level.

Of course the kids love seeing the animals, I think that's their favorite part, that and the carousel. The cows are fun to see. I've thought many times about getting a Jersey instead of the goats we have. Mainly because my daughter does not like goats milk and refuses to drink it,  I would have more cream for butter, and my mozzarella cheese would come out better. I just don't know if I could handle to amount of milk I would get from her. But I do love the sweet faces that those Jerseys have!

Over in the poultry room I got to check out the polish chickens. I look for them any time we go to any agricultural fair, I absolutely love those poofy heads! One day I will have day.

Over at the ducks I saw this little breed called bantam call ducks. They are the cutest things I've ever seen! It's seems they're only bred for pets and showing so I can't really justify getting any, but man were they cute!

Unfortunately most of the pigs had already left, but we did get to see a sow and her piglets!

Hubby has talked about raising geese for years now. The grey toulouse geese in the back really caught his eye and I think we may be starting a flock in the spring time. We have a shed near the garden that can be their house and the pasture would provide most of their food in spring and summer.

An incubator in the poultry room lets the kids see chicks hatching. They even have them spaced out so that some are hatching each day throughout the week!

There's another room full of commercial exhibits. Tractors, fence supply companies, trailers, solar products, green houses, all kinds of farming equipment is on display.

There are three arenas in the complex that have various events going on throughout the week. Horse pulls, barrel racing, rodeo, sheep herding, animal judging, tractor square dance, people square dance, tractor pulls, all kinds of events! 
On Wednesday there's the Sheep-to-shawl contest. Groups have three hours to sheer a sheep, spin it into yarn and then weave it on a loom into a shawl. They are judged on all three aspects of the event and afterward winners are announced and the shawls are auctioned off.

There's a lot to see in the 24 acres that the building covers! Everything is inside! But it's worth the 3 hour drive each way for us to see it! 

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