PA Farm Show Celebrates 100th Anniversary In Harrisburg

Jan 15, 2016

At the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, thousands gather to experience the landmark 100th Show. Featuring over 6,000 animals, it’s the largest indoor agricultural exhibition in the country.  

Mike McMurtrie of EDN-RU Jerseys in Boalsburg, PA says his family has been coming to the show for about 50 years. His son is now the one who raises the cattle on the farm. He’s hoping their animals do well this year.

He said, “Hey, just like everyone says, it’s the judge’s opinion that day. But, hey we rank ‘em high. Just like everybody else does.”

McMurtrie says the show gives them opportunities to interact with customers. “Yeah, we have a lot of people look at them and want to buy them.”

Cattle from EDN-RU Jerseys from Boalsburg, Pa.
Credit Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Between rodeo competitions and a giant butter sculpture, the long-running event gives farmers from across the state a chance to showcase their best. There’s also a marketplace for products like cheeses, meat, candy, and wine.    

Happy Valley Vineyard and Winery in State College has its first booth at the show this year. Owner Barb Christ is giving out free samples to a long line of customers. She says she’s been coming to the show for a long time. “I grew up in Pennsylvania and I’ve always known farm show since I’ve been a little kid. So yeah, it’s amazing it’s the 100th year anniversary. It’s a great event.”

Christ says having a booth can mean a boon for business in a usually slow period. “The month of January for many businesses like restaurants and wineries is kind of a down month after the Christmas holidays,” she said.

At the next booth over, Alan Chapel is representing Allegheny Cellars Winery in Warren County. “This time of year in our area is kind of slow sales so it definitely gives us a boost in income and gives us some exposure on this side of the state. So it’s nice to be here,” Chapel said.

The line at his booth is just as long. “Our most popular wine is our Bigfoot Shadows, it’s a sweet concord and it’s our best seller by far. It seems like everybody likes it here,” he said.

Back in the cattle area, Dale Maulfair from Jonestown is getting ready to show his dairy cows. He first entered the show in 1973 and he says the show helps him sell his cows.

He said, “If you win up here, it helps so you are known you have quality animals.”

The Department of Agricultural expects half a million visitors at this years’ show. It comes to an end tomorrow.