Farm Show Freak-Out

Lucia meets Miss Pennsylvania.

Miss Pennsylvania(?)  meets Lucia.

It’s crazy. It’s wild. It’s out of control. It’s the Pennsylvania Farm Show.This is my favorite time of the year for keeping the TV on all day, tuned to the PCN (Pennsylvania Community Network) Channel. Because from now until January 17, the country’s largest indoor agricultural expo is taking place in Harrisburg, PA, at the Farm Show Complex.It’s huge.

I try to go every year. But you can’t see it all in one day, that’s why you also have to watch it on TV. In person I’ve seen: high school rodeo (girls barrel racing! boys cow roping!), horse carriage racing (indoors…it’s freakish!), baby ducks on a water slide, giant butter sculptures, the sheep-to-shawl contest (you have to shear a sheep and turn the fleece into a shawl right there). I’ve eaten incredible food at the food court—smoked-trout chowder, pickled cabbage, and our all-time family favorite: Maple Syrup Cotton Candy! I even have a picture of Lucia eating ice cream with Miss Pennsylvania. At least I thought it was Miss Pennsylvania at the time; it may have been some random woman wearing a sash and tiara. (Yes, Lucia is wearing camo pants—Lou picked them up at a used-clothing sale in the Rodale cafeteria!). You can watch little kids auctioning off pigs, cows, and sheep from their 4-H projects. You can study all the many varieties of poultry or goats. You can walk down a hallway with a pig. You can view a taxidermy display of native PA rodents. It’s about as much fun as you can possibly have in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania rodents taxidermy display.

Pennsylvania rodents taxidermy display.


There is only one problem that I have with the PA Farm Show, and it’s a big one: There is no sign of organic anything. Every year I am bummed that I haven’t figured out a way to infiltrate their ranks and get the organic message across to the 400,000 people who show up. I might have given up (slightly and reluctantly) on my dream of becoming a barrel racer, but I still haven’t given up my dream of making the world more organic.

Maybe at next year’s show, Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen will have a stand!

Related Posts:

7 Responses to Farm Show Freak-Out

  1. Mark January 12, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    Oh, don’t forget tractor square dancing (my personal favorite)! Thank you for the update and photos Maria….

  2. Maria January 12, 2009 at 6:25 pm #


  3. Shelbi January 13, 2009 at 9:53 am #

    You have inspired me!!!! Checking it out on Friday! I have already mapped out my day – tractor square dance, cow milking contest, PA’s Greatest Shoo-fly contest, RODEO!!!!! Can’t wait to try the maple cotton candy!

  4. Maria January 13, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    make sure you get tickets in advance for the rodeo! I’m jealous. It’s the one thing they don’t show on TV.

  5. Lynn January 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

    I had a streak going for a few years.. love to watch the 4_H kids grooming the horses’ manes and cows’ tails — I had the opportunity to sleep overnight with my niece’s sheep in their straw pile.. Walking around at midnight was a switch from the hustle and bustle of the daytime events. I must go on Saturday. Thanks for the reminder! And yes, let’s work on organic surpassing conventional!!

  6. Maria January 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    I am so jealous!

  7. David Kang January 22, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    I’m very glad you liked my collection of rodent taxidermy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *