On Saturday, the annual Pa. Farm Show opens in Harrisburg and continues through Jan. 15. It's an event worth visiting.

It used to be that Carbon County 4-H members had a strong presence in the Farm Show. We've been informed that this is no longer the case, and that's sad.

Georgia Farrow, 4-H coordinator with the Penn State Cooperative Extension Service in Carbon County, says no 4-H members have indicated to her their intentions of participating in this year's Farm Show.

Luke Graver of Franklin Township, whose family goes back generations of 4-H exhibiting at the show, will be entering his livestock in the open class, according to Farrow.

This is somewhat disappointing considering all the gold medalists at the Farm Show over the years which have come from Carbon County. There have even been some fairly recent Farm Show scholarship winners from Carbon as an indication of the interest and hard work many local kids put into their agricultural endeavors over the years.

The great presence by 4-Hers at the annual local Carbon County Fair proves there is still a lot of interest in the club. It's just that they no longer reach to that next level.

Of course, even though the local participation is diminished, the Farm Show is still something to see. The event highlights Pennsylvania agriculture, with all types of competitions, huge displays of farm equipment and livestock, educational commercial displays, and, no trip is complete to the Farm Show without visiting the Food Court.

In the Food Court you'll find all Pennsylvania products, including milk shakes, roast beef sandwiches, baked potatoes, mushrooms, and cinnamon buns, just to name a few.

There are arena shows such as teen rodeos, a state police mounted drill team, tractor pulls, and 4-H drill teams.

It's a family event where you can witness the milking of cows the making of shawls from sheep's wool.

The best part about the Farm Show is that admission is free. There is a nominal charge for parking.

If you've never been there, do yourself a favor and visit the Farm Show. If you've been there before, you'll probably be going back.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com