Sunday, January 9, 2011

Agriculture fair in USA

It's the largest indoor agricultural show in the United States: over twenty full acres of displays, exhibits, and presentations that culminates in a weeklong celebration of the Commonwealth’s leading and most well-recognized industry - agriculture.
Each January, over 400,000 visitors from across the United States and the world come to see the best of the mid-state's wide variety of livestock, fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, which runs from January 8th through January 15th at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, just off Exit 67 of Interstate 81. The fair also hosts educational exhibits and meetings giving farmers and agricultural specialists from all over a chance to learn, discuss, and network while browsing displays of the latest farm equipment or the best farm products the Commonwealth has to offer. Since 1995, the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) has broadcast live events from the Farm Show to over 4 million Pennsylvania viewers.
The Farm Show traces its roots back to 1851 when the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society organized an annual fair  to showcase the Connonwealth’s many agricultural achievements until it was discontinued in 1899 after mounting complaints from fair goers about the “unseemly” side shows and carnival-type acts that accompanied it. The desire for a state agricultural fair, however, did not go away. In 1916, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Charles Patton worked to organize a new agricultural fair and in January of 1917, the "Pennsylvania Corn, Fruit, Vegetable, Dairy Products, and Wool Show" was held in a farm machinery dealer's building in Harrisburg.
In 1921, the Show presented its first livestock exhibits, which included beef and dairy cattle, horses, sheep, and swine. The first livestock competitions and sales were held at the fair in 1922 and poultry exhibits were included for the first time a year later. By 1925, the show was attracting some 40,000 visitors to sites located all around the city of Harrisburg. Due to its popularity, the Pennsylvania State Department of Agriculture took over the event and the legislature appropriated money for new buildings. The result of these funds was the building of the Pennsylvania Farm Show and Expo Center, which was completed in 1966 and holds over holds 7,600 people. Since that time, the event has been one of the most popular agricultural expositions on the East Coast.
Since its humble beginnings, the Pennsylvania Farm Show has never slowed down and continues to expand its appeal and involvement in the Pennsylvania community, adding participants from 4-H clubs, the Future Farmers of America (FFA), Future Homemakers of America, State Mounted Police, Pennsylvania State University's College of Agriculture, and students from various vocational schools. The Fair added a draft horse hitch competition, horse and pony pulling contests, the "sheep to shawl contest," a dairy goat show, apple pie contest, rabbit show, competition for Pennsylvania wines, art exhibition, displays of feed, fertilizer, and seeds, folk dance competition, acres of antique and modern farm machinery, and more as well as the always popular “butter sculpture”. The show has even offered non-denominational religious services on opening day for fair goers and exhibitors who would miss church by attending the event since 1982.
Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Farm Show Bureau operates the 60-acre farm show complex that also hosts more than 200 other exhibits and trade shows every year. In 2002, an $86.2 million expansion to the Farm Show Complex was completed and guests continue to be enthralled and educated through the great work and achievements of the some of the mid-state’s finest workers of the land.
If any of you have fond memories of your trips to the Farm Show or would like to share your thoughts on this annual Pennsylvania tradition, feel free to post below!!!

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