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Lehigh Valley vendors, exhibits showcased at 2023 Farm Show

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The 107th Pennsylvania Farm Show opened Saturday with tens of thousands of people filling the Farm Show Complex & Expo Center to drink milkshakes, watch baking competitions and visit dozens of vendors and exhibits.

The Lehigh Valley was well represented among the display of agricultural industry from regions across the state.

  • Businesses from the Lehigh Valley came to the 2023 Farm Show in Harrisburg
  • The Museum of Industrial History, Blue Mountain Winery and Annie's Pooch Pups were among the Lehigh Valley representatives at the event
  • Cindy Hendershot of Danielsville won fourth place at the Chocolate Cake competition

On Saturday, one even came in fourth place at the chocolate cake competition.

National Museum of Industrial History

The National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem held an interactive exhibit in a section of the Farm Show that featured displays about machinery.

“We wanted to help bring the museum beyond Bethlehem, and we thought, ‘What better event than the Pennsylvania Farm Show?’” museum historian Mike Piersa said.

“We can show the transition from agriculture to industry and how industry supports agriculture, and really get people interested in what we’re doing and what an amazing museum we have.”

“We wanted to help bring the museum beyond Bethlehem, and we thought, ‘What better event than the Pennsylvania Farm Show?’”
Mike Piersa, historian at the Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem

The museum’s exhibit included a demonstration of steam-powered engines, iron pieces of art and a printing press.

Blue Mountain Winery

The Pennsylvania Wine Association was the host of a wine-tasting booth near the front of the Farm Show complex.

Josh Gier of New Tripoli’s Blue Mountain Winery said the booth was so popular among wineries in the state that he had to enter a lottery to participate.

Gier said the taste-testing at his stand was popular. He made sure to highlight his unique bacon-flavored wine, which also was featured at the Pa. Bacon Fest in Easton.

Gier bought Blue Mountain Winery a few months ago. He said he is glad he bought it because it’s allowed him to connect more with the community.

“We grew up in the Lehigh Valley, so it’s a great opportunity to connect with the community and purchase something that's been around for a while,” Gier said.

Annie’s Pooch Pops

Annie’s Pooch Pops, a dog treat shop from Bangor, also had a station at the Farm Show. Employee Corey Scott said the treats were selling well at the event – especially the Happy Meal-inspired packages.

Scott said the business started about 25 years ago with the Happy Meal dog treats.

“When the business first started, they were just doing little happy meals and cutting out little burgers,” Scott said. “And so every piece that they had an idea for kind of sprung off from that.”

Other treats were shaped as mini pizzas, muffins, cannoli and hotdogs.

Pennsylvania Farm Show

The Pennsylvania Farm Show started in 1917, then called the Pennsylvania Corn, Fruit, Vegetable, Dairy Products, and Wool Show.

Since then, crowds have gathered every year for the event, which is “the largest indoor agricultural exposition under one roof in the nation,” according to the event’s website.

The Farm Show includes competitions for many different skills, including rodeo, sheep shearing, rabbit showmanship and baking.

Cindy Hendershot of Danielsville won fourth place at the chocolate cake competition after winning first prize at the Schnecksville Community Fair.

McCall Collective Brewing won second prize in the fruit/herb/vegetable beer subcategory with their grisette.

Lost Tavern Brewing in Bethlehem topped the stout category for their Slashing Pumpkins Stout.

And the Bethlehem-based Five Maidens Cider Co. was awarded three ribbons – two first-places and a second-place – and captured the Best of Show trophy in the cider competition co-organized by the Pennsylvania Cider Guild. Five Maidens’ tasting room is at 327 Polk St. in South Bethlehem.

One of the event’s most popular annual attractions is the butter sculpture. This year’s sculpture depicted a family of farmers with a dairy calf. A keystone stands behind them.

Butter Sculpture 2023
Olivia Marble
The butter sculpture at the 2023 Pennsylvania Farm Show stands tall.

The Farm Show was briefly virtual in January 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shannon Powers, spokeswoman for the state Agriculture Department, said it’s hard to estimate attendance numbers because there is no admission fee.

But from what public safety officials are observing, attendance appears to be back to what they were in 2020, she said.

The 2023 Farm Show’s theme is “Rooted in Progress.” It will run for eight days through Jan. 14.