Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Pennsylvania Farm Show, Harrisburg, PA

I'd had a horrible week. Canceled plans due to the cold weather, a burst pipe flooding my living room, the heater going out, discovering I've added eight pounds over the holidays, and turning 48 put me in a bad mood. And being indoors drives me nuts anyway. So when a friend suggested a trip to the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Saturday, I jumped.

Continuing my theme of distress, I'd had only four hours of sleep and a queasy stomach when I met my friend at 9 AM for our carpool to Harrisburg. I hate driving in and around our state capitol, as the roads are a mess of interchanges and I invariably take the wrong one. I wasn't driving, so that wasn't a problem this trip. And despite the heavy rain and traffic, we were soon enough at the offsite parking lot and on the bus shuttle.

The Farm Show is the largest in the United States, drawing 585 thousand visitors last year over eight days. The show celebrates agriculture, which brings more than five billion dollars into Pennsylvania's economy. And while there are more than a thousand animals on display, there are a range of exhibits for all tastes.... including fans of butter sculpture, apparently.
 I enjoyed the show, but all the walking around and the heat eventually made me as tired as Passion the cow. I had to sit down for a few minutes and rest outside an overheated exhibition hall. Adding in some walking before and after I hoofed over three miles that day. I felt better after drinking some water and later having a "Mapleade" - lemonade sweetened with Pennsylvania maple syrup. For the record, mapleade is a very odd flavor - like lemonade but lacking the tartness of lemons.

 While the macro is what's celebrated at the Farm Show, its the micro I enjoyed - the small items, like the displays by young people, the terrariums, the model gardens... I could do without the crowds of people, the schlock vendors, and the endless booths selling 'heavy' food.... although had my stomach been more settled that morning I might have indulged in a trout sandwich or the deep fried cheese cubes.

My favorite exhibit at the farm show was the display of Fred Foster's dioramas of farming in in the 1950s. For the past dozen years Foster has exhibited his models at the Indiana County Fair, and this is the first time he's shown his models here. The bridge in the photo is modeled on the Trusel Bridge over Crooked Creek in Indiana County. The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic in 1990, and is the shortest of the county's four covered spans.

Despite some complaints and a bad week, I had a good time at the Farm Show. Its always nice to be with friends and meet new people. Even if the new person is a mushroom.



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A Taste For The Woods: 2014 Pennsylvania Farm Show, Harrisburg, PA

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2014 Pennsylvania Farm Show, Harrisburg, PA