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What comes to mind when you hear about the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg?

If you think of farm animals, equipment and a fair-like atmosphere, you’ve hit the nail on the head. According to the show’s website, the expo features “nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits every year.” It “offers something for everyone, young and old, farmers and non-farmers, foodies and just people who like to have fun.”

It’s true. You can see a lot, learn a lot and eat a lot. If you leave the place bored and/or hungry, it’s your own fault! If you leave there tired yet satisfied, call it a good day.

My family had not attended the farm show in quite a few years. The last time we went, my son was almost 3 years old. We attended a horse riding demonstration thanks to my daughter’s involvement in 4-H and interest in horses. With Amber’s middle school show choir singing the national anthem at 8 a.m. Tuesday to open the show (Jan. 9, 2018), we had the opportunity to return.

It was an early start. Amber went on the bus with her group for 6:15 a.m. Jacob and I drove to Harrisburg on our own, leaving about the same time.

After the girls sang, the group split up to explore what the farm show offered. Starting in Exhibition Hall where food vendors touted everything from rich, thick milkshakes to chocolate-covered bacon (yes, you’re reading it right), Jacob and I shared a milkshake as we watched a sow feed her 12 piglets. Next to it, little ducks waded in water and shot down a small slide, and baby chicks kept warm in an incubator while other eggs showed signs of life trying to pop out. We visited connecting buildings with goats, cows, rabbits, fowl and more pigs. Somehow we missed the horse area, but we did see one mamma horse with her foal named Dreamer in the one building.

In the main hall were vendors, including food vendors offering samples, a little carousel for little ones to ride and service dogs greeting the public. Of course, the farm show’s centerpiece, the butter sculpture, attracted plenty of viewers and people taking photos. There were 4-H exhibits and other projects to see and lots of programs and things to learn about at the show. In addition to being fun, it was educational.

The show, as of this blog entry, runs for three more days (Jan. 11 through 13, 2018). Admission is free, but there is a $15 parking fee with free bus shuttle service that takes you to the doors of the complex. Take the whole family. You won’t be disappointed!