Rockwood resident Noah Wareham summed up the magnitude of the 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg on Monday.
“It’s like (the Somerset County Fair), except everything is under one roof, and it’s still bigger,” he said.
Although Wareham hadn’t been to the show in a few years, he had fond memories of chaperoning the Somerset County 4-H Club in the past. His daughters Havyn, 3, and Avri, 4, didn’t need any icebreakers as they began climbing on the first farm tractors they saw.
“There’s so much to see, you just walk around and you get caught up in it,” he said. “It really is a lot like the Somerset County Fair, so we sort of know our way around these things.”
The Warehams weren’t the only ones from America’s County getting swept up in the familiar. Somerset resident Brian Hoffman and his family checked out an exhibit from the Pennsylvania Maple Syrup Producers Council.
Hoffman, who owns a small maple sugar camp, said the exhibit was just one of the many things he and his family traveled the more than two-hour distance to see.
“We didn’t bring any livestock ourselves this year, but traditionally Somerset County has been well represented over the years,” he said. “The kids look forward to this.”
More than 120 Somerset County children will attend the show throughout the week, many exhibiting farm animals or participating in square dancing competitions, according to Joanne Stoltzfus, a 4-H/youth development extension educator with Penn State Extension in Somerset.
Whether it was animals, food, farming technology or even a 1,000-pound sculpture of butter, there was something for everyone at the Farm Show Complex. The eight-day event is America’s largest indoor agricultural exposition, covering 24 acres under one continuous roof and featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors. More than 400,000 people are expected to visit the complex throughout the week. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money is awarded to exhibitors.
For Somerset County entrepreneurs Rick Stafford and Rita Resick, the show was an opportunity to make money while expanding their brand. The couple, along with business partners Ken and Marian Solder, own and operate Laurel Vista Farms of Somerset.
This is the company’s first time appearing as a vendor at the show. Laurel Vista Farms specializes in fresh sweet onions, green beans, potatoes and pickled peppers of all levels of spiciness.
“It’s been up and down the first couple of days, but overall it’s going well,” Resick said.
Resick said the small business owners learned a quick lesson early on in the week.
“We were giving out free samples, and we were surprised by how quickly people try a sample and then move on without buying anything,” she said. “We do have samples available, but handing them out to everyone wasn’t the best idea.”
The 97th annual Farm Show runs through Saturday. For a schedule of events visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us.