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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It's Farm Show Week

Last weekend the 90th Annual Pennsylvania State Farm Show began, and runs until this weekend. 'Round here, it's just called the Farm Show. Supposedly we get a big snowfall every year at this time, but this year we've got record warm weather. Well, actually, I made that up. It was 63 degrees yesterday, which is just plain WRONG for January in Pennsylvania.

Anyway, it's a really, really big thing here. A must-see for anyone with kids, for sure. And it's a real agricultural event. Farmers from all over the Commonwealth bring their produce and animals to show. 4H kids show and sell their animals to earn college money. There is a Sheep to Shawl contest, where a sheep is shorn, the wool is spun and woven into a shawl in one long contest. There is a square dance competition, cattle penning, food tasting, chicks hatching under the lights, and every and any thing that is associated with agriculture. Demonstrations of all sorts - even polka dancing. Go to the website and try out the winning recipes

There are, naturally, the animals to see: cows, pigs, sheep and horses of every breed, all sorts of fowl, rabbits and more. Every year at least one calf is born during the week. The farming families camp out in the building with their animals.

Every year there is a giant butter sculpture.
This is the Secretary of Agriculture, Dennis Wolff,
with the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess.

My favorite is the Horse and Pony Pulling Contests. Pairs of horses or ponies are hitched and try to pull the heaviest weight. These equines really like to pull - some of them are so antsy to go that they yank their handlers off their feet. The drivers are not allowed to slap the lines (reins) or whip the horses - in fact, you'll see the drivers hold the lines high up to keep them off the horses' backs. The drivers can only holler or make other noises (usually those kissy noises people make at animals) to encourage them to pull harder.

The winning pull last night was 4500 pounds for the heavyweight category* by the Brown Brothers' horses, Fred and Jim. They're from Acme, PA (just had to throw in that town's name). They had actually won with 4400 lbs, but that was last year's record pull, and they were given a chance to pull another 100 lbs. Then the crowd yelled for another 100, but the Brown brothers said that was enough. To be honest, the horses looked like they could have pulled 4600.

* A team that weighs 3200 lbs or more. This is a new PA Farm Show record for the PA Dynaometer. Now, there are different ways of measuring weights, so records are kept for each method. Next year the weight will be pulled on a sled, rather than a dynaometer truck, as voted on by the team pulling association. And if you're REALLY into this, there is a website to go to. You knew there would be, didn't you?


At 11:52 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Is it me or does that farm girl with the pigs look a little Dddragonish? The girl I said.

Iowa has a Pork Queen. Competition is fierce than you'd think.

At 12:38 PM, Blogger AP3 said...

Yee HAW! The PA Farm Show!

In these parts, the big deal is a thing called "The Big E" in Springfield, MA. I've never been.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Yee HAW...AP3 took the words right outta my mouth.

The Farm Show is the biggest of big deals here of course. I'm always so proud to tell everyone: I'VE NEVER BEEN TO THE FARM SHOW.

Farmers come from all over the state for it. Visitors pack the show. A good time is had by all. It's 15 minutes away for me as you know. But I don't give two hoots about it.

I would like to see the Sheep to Shawl contest. You can't get near that. Too popular.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Fred said...

What do they do with all that butter when the show is over?

As long as there's entertainment, I'd go. And, I'd have to get my picture taken in front of the butter.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Sar said...

I'd worry about the butter sculpture with your record high warm temperatures.

Btw, the trees started budding here - Jeesh, it's only January!

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Meegan said...

Pennsylvania Dairy Princess? I love it. Now I've heard everything.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger actonbell said...

I haven't been to the farm show in YEARS, but it was the first time I ever realized that there really were roosters with feet like Foghorn Leghorn's. I just know the 4-Hers were laughing at me.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Minka said...

I sure would like to attend such a gathering...the one one could have!

At 4:15 PM, Blogger schnoodlepooh said...

I LOVE the fair. It's so much fun. I would love to watch the horses pull. They are soooo cool.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger still life said...

I actually think that I would enjoy that so much, especially the sheep to shawl contest. Those sheep got lucky being shorn during 63° weather! Actually it was really warm here as well.


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