HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A first look at the 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show: It officially kicks off Saturday, January 4 at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.
“It’s the calm before the storm," said Russell Redding, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Redding took the media on a behind-the-scenes tour Monday morning.
Held in one of Pennsylvania’s largest classrooms, with more than one million square feet of space, Redding says the Farm Show has something for everyone in the family.
The theme of this year's show is 'Imagine the Opportunities.'
“This will be fun," said Redding. "The chance to host agriculture and host the people who appreciate agriculture here.”
Redding says this year, the Farm Show will focus on the opportunities in Pennsylvania agriculture, like potential careers and growing industries, such as hemp growing and harvesting.
Giant machines, built to harvest hemp, will be on display; there will also be new hemp products for people to taste and to bring home.
“You always have to go around and try the food. That’s the good part," said Tom Topper, who runs the poultry exhibit.
In the food court, PennAg will have Chiques Creek Hemp Tea in 3 unique flavors – original, passionfruit-mint, and peach-lemon-dandelion. The tea is made with hemp seed oil, not CBD. PennAg will also bring back Bell & Evans organic, gluten-free chicken tenders, adding a family value-pack to the mix.
Speaking of food, Mushroom Farmers of Pennsylvania have created a Philly Port Sandwich, described as a "100% Pennsylvania Portabella mushrooms seasoned with garlic, onions, salt, pepper and cheese – a plant-based, guilt-free alternative to cheesesteak." It's also available in vegan and gluten-free versions.
For carnivore lovers, there will also be gluten-free meatballs and a Sausage O' the Day added to their meaty line-up of favorites.
Fried Berry Oreos join the menu of sweet favorites like apple cider donuts, honey ice cream, and funnel cakes.
The 'Farmers Market' debuted in Main Hall last year with take-home tastes of Pennsylvania brought to you by the PA Farmers Market Association. People can purchase their fill of cheese, honey, maple products, potatoes, veggies, apples and more treats to take home.
For the first time, people 21 and older will be able to sample some of Pennsylvania's award winning wines and craft brews.
People who can't resist a good bite can get their fill of Farm Show food as early as noon Friday, January 3 at the food court.
The Info-tainment and excitement
The Farm Show revamped several preexisting exhibits. For instance, there is a new addition to the waterfowl exhibit.
This year, Farm Show goers will be able to watch adorable ducklings swim in a 3,000 lb. tank.
Be on the lookout for the rabbit competitions, dog demos, and youth showmanship. Kids can strut their stuff and show what they know with new poultry, dairy cattle, breeding sheep, goats, and alpaca categories this year.
If the Farm Show gets to be too much or for those people with special needs, low-stimulation shelters throughout the complex will offer a quiet, peaceful escape from crowds.
The dates and price of admission
Admission to the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show is free and parking is $15 in all Farm Show Complex-operated lots.
It runs January 4 to 11 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, except Sunday, Jan. 5, when it runs 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 11, when it opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is accessible from Interstates 81 and 83.
For more information, click here.