Monday, January 16, 2017

my trip to the pennsylvania farm show

On Monday, the accountant at work sent his typical bi-weekly email about payroll, only this week he added one extra line.  A reminder about the famous milkshakes at the farm show.

Last week was the Pennsylvania Farm Show, held in Harrisburg.  Thanks to a little research, I can tell you that it's the largest indoor agricultural show in the county, taking place on 24 acres and hosting 6000 animals.

I just so happened to be staying six miles from the farm show this week due to a work trip, and I decided to head over for a little agricultural experience on Wednesday night.  I don't usually go to things like this alone, but the previous two nights my evening activity had centered around walking around (and around, and around, and around) Target to get my steps in for a Fitbit challenge, and I think after a third night of that the employees would catch on to me.

After my meeting I made my way to the farm show complex, parked in an overflow lot about a mile away, and hopped on a school bus where the driver told us that they brought her in from two hours away for the week.  Then she said, "Ya'll here for the rodeo?"

Well yee-haw.

I walked in and was greeted by a sign for the cheese competition.

I've never felt more at home.  I wandered through the exhibit hall and saw competitive exhibits including but not limited to hay, straw, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, maple syrup, Christmas trees, mushrooms, and anything else that can be grown in Pennsylvania.  

From there I wandered past this bull and into the dairy cow barn.

I guess someone had tried to pet him on his head.

There were cows, everywhere.  Lying, standing, looking around.  And the more remarkable thing to me was that little kids, (from their farm, not just random little kids) were lying beside and around them, reading or taking naps or just relaxing.  And the cows were as calm as could be.

It was about this moment that I realized I'd made a rookie mistake.  I just wore a cute vest instead of a jacket because I made the foolish assumption that the entire show would be heated.  It was not.  Because cows and goats don't typically require a heavily regulated indoor temperature of 68 degrees like I do in January.

After I'd seen enough cows, I made my way to the goat barn.  I tried and tried to find a goat that wasn't completely goofy looking, but it was impossible.

As I watched this adorable baby goat (kid?) I heard a woman behind me say "excuse me," so I moved aside and glanced behind me.  And it's a good thing I got out of the way because the woman was walking with a giant bull.

The room next door was hosting the sheep to shawl contest, which is just what it sounds like.  They were shearing sheep and then making shawls, which makes a trip to the mall for a new sweater seem incredibly lazy.

I finally arrived at the promised land, the food court.  The room was the size of several football fields, and filled with food from all over Pennsylvania.  I ended up with a potato donut and a famous milkshake from the PA Dairymen's Association, one of over 100,000 sold during the week.

It exceeded expectations.

The antique tractor pull was going on next door so I decided to watch while I enjoyed my donut and shake.  I also got an education on competitive tractor pulling from the two old men sitting beside me.  I learned that Internationals are good, Farmalls are overrated, and that you can go out of bounds in a tractor pull.
I know this last thing because they kept yelling OUT OF BOUNDS!

After several heats of tractor pulling, I visited the horse barn, where I remembered my love of the Thoroughbred book series.  Did anyone else read them?  I spent about three years of my life wishing I was Ashley Griffin living at Townsend Acres with her very own horse named Wonder.  

There was  draft horse/mini horse challenge at 7:00 that I wanted to see, so I found the arena (right next to the mechanical bull, obviously), sat down, and George Strait was crooning Amarillo by Morning through the speakers.  I texted Matt then and there that we should buy a farm and move to the country.

The draft horse/mini horse challenge was just that.  I wanted to put that tiny horse in my pocket and take her home with me.  Her owner's name was Laura so she would have felt right at home.

The farm show closed at 9 and it was getting late, so I decided to hit the alpaca barn on my way out.

And I'm glad I did, because my life is better now that I've seen an alpaca wearing sunglasses.

I'll have to remember to buy some sunglasses for our own alpacas when we get our very own farm.


SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I freaking love alpacas and baby goats. Good decision to go!

Sara Elizabeth Miller said...

So what I'm hearing you saying is that you did all of this... for a milkshake and a lack of judgment from your coworkers for circling Target (which actually means... you were trying to throw off the Target employees who thought you were casing their store, yes?).

But actually... looks like an adventure! Is it weird that I'm thrown off that Pennsylvania has all these farm animals? When I think farm, I don't think Pennsylvania. Learn something new everyday!


Brianne said...

I was loving this whole post, thinking how much fun this place sounded & that I'd feel right a home there & then ya hit me with an alpaca in sunglasses. Post of the week goes to you!

Rebecca Jo said...

Girl, I need you to live near me so we can be best friends. Only you would say, "sure, let's go here for fun" :)
That baby goat.... my heart!!
& sorry, I'd be the person who would try & pet the bull on the head. I'm sure of it.

Kristen @ See You In A Porridge said...

oh my goodness!! that tiny horse is freaking adorable. i can't believe the bull just walking around and that someone tried to pet the other bull. jeepers. the goats are freaking adorable and i want them. i want to go to this thing just for the milkshakes though. you've convinced me.

Katie said...

I grew up about 4 hours north of Harrisburg. I remember kids skipping school to go see this and being really confused. Why would you leave your barn full of cows to go look at more cows? Also, if you missed the butter sculpture, you missed the best part (next to the milk shakes of course).

Kayla MKOY said...

The sunglasses!!! Hahah so cute! What a cool thing to experience. Dangit, now I want a milkshake! Lol

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

Cheese competition? YES please or shall I say yee haw! So much fun :-D
Green Fashionista

Erin LFF said...

This looks amazing! I officially will be making it my goal to make it to farm week sometime lol :) I love cows, and alpacas. Especially the one with sunglasses!!! lol

Lindsay at Lindsay'sSweetWorld said...

I swear, I literally cannot. That alpaca wearing sunglasses gets me every single time I see it. He even looks like he KNOWS he's cool in those things. I am cracking up right now.

Ashley @ A Cute Angle said...

So farm shows are an unofficially holiday in some parts of Pennsylvania. I grew up in the East and no idea what a farm show was until I moved to Western Pennsylvania for college. I got to go to a rodio and a live stock auction and that was pretty cool! Love the baby goat and the alpaca with sunglasses. So random!

rooth said...

I will take a cart drawn by a mini horse, please! I feel like that would be so much better than driving a car around town

Kristy Sayer-Jones @ Southern In Law said...

A CHEESE COMPETITION?! I feel like I've missed my calling in life and am living in the wrong place all at once. You Pennsylvanians are my people! I need to be a cheese judge.

I'm now kind of wondering where you're supposed to pet the bull because that sign isn't very specific. Can you pet him anywhere but his head or nowhere at all? Who knows... and I wouldn't really want to test it just in case.

This post has left me wondering so many things. Like, what on earth is a potato donut? Is it sweet and just made from potato? Or is it savoury? I'm guessing sweet since you had it with one of those famous milkshakes.

This whole show sounds like our Easter Show - only it's famous for its scones instead of milkshakes :P

And the alpaca wearing sunglasses was the perfect way to finish. I'm applauding you (in my head so I don't look crazy) for capturing that shot because I feel like it's destined for a meme.

Heather @ Heathers Hurrah said...

This looks fun!!! The alpacas are adorable!!

Jenny Evans said...

That bull doesn't look like he would like to be petted ANYWHERE, not just his head.

A Dash of Pretty said...

I remember going to this as a kid! That's awesome that you went! The most random things go on in the middle of PA lol!

Kristin @ Going Country said...

We are currently in a sheep-less period of our life (and let me tell you, I do not miss having sheep AT ALL), but back in the day when my husband had sheep and we had no children, I had to go to the Great New York State Fair (always all caps, always with the Great) and sit through the WHOOOOOOOLE sheep show. Torture.

And now I live in fear that my children are going to join 4-H or the FFA (Future Farmers of America) and I'm going to have to take them to the fair and camp out in those stalls with the animals, which is what those families actually do. They bring sleeping bags and camping stuff and just camp right in the empty stalls. My nightmare. And unfortunately not too remote a possibility, considering our current rural location.

Cathy Vargas said...

Seems like you had a fun time! the lamas are adorable :)

Cathy Vargas
Vintage Inspired Clothing

AnneMarie said...

Those alpacas are so cute!!!!!!!! I already love alpacas, but with those sunglasses, they are totally irresistible. That milkshake looks/sounds delicious, too! This sounds like such an awesome trip!