Pennsylvania Farm Show: A celebration of small family farms

This past weekend I took a trip out to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to our state farm show. It is the largest indoor farm show in the United States with nearly 6,000 animals and 10,000 competitive exhibits. Nearly 400,000 people visit the farm show each year over the course of a week  – though I feel like they were all there this weekend!

Going to the farm show is like going to the biggest state fair you’ve ever been to plus a rodeo plus a butter sculpture. Yep, a butter sculpture. We have a lot of dairy farms in Pennsylvania (that’s why Milton Hershey built his factory here).

The biggest thing people talk about at the farm show is the food. And for good reason from the milkshakes to potato doughnuts, mushroom soup to fried cheese there are lots of delicious treats to tempt you.  I grazed througout the day and had a little bit of this and that.

As we toured the show I couldn’t get over the pride of the exhibitors. That day the Angus show was taking place, so the owners were shearing, spraying and yes blow-drying their cattle. I never saw so many fluffy cow tales in my life. And that’s what struck me most about the farm show. Big agri-business wasn’t there, just the Schultz family with their cattle. These folks truly cared about their animals. This was not just their livelihood, but their animals.

Even during the rodeo, where cattle were being roped (first head, then rear hoofs), one of the contestants threw her chances away because the front rope became tangled. She dropped the rope (a disqualification) so that the animal would not be harmed. These are people who care.


Many exhibitors were offering 101 classes on various topics, willing to share their knowledge and expertise to further their industry and hobbies. You could learn how to care for alpacas or even bees.

In the end, the farm show was a big celebration of everything agriculture, and I was happy to be a part of it in my small way.

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