Thousands of people, from babies in strollers to middle-aged farmers in earnest discussions with vendors, to older folks riding the hilly terrain in golf carts, thronged to all three days of Penn State’s Ag Progress Days Event, Aug. 18-20.
Rain turned drenching by the end of the third day, drowning out a promising drone exhibition. A Penn State Police officer estimated the attendance at between 10,000 and 15,000 Tuesday and Thursday, 20-22,000 on Wednesday, with no negative incidents.
There was something for everyone. Small children sat mesmerized in their strollers by all that was taking place around them, particularly the regular succession of horses and riders appearing in the main horse arena and the opportunities for feeding and petting animals.
Older children enjoyed the Bug Guy’s fascinating cases full of strange and beautiful insects, happily holding scorpions. Others climbed 40-foot trees safely, using ropes and a harness to give them a taste of the arborist’s life.
Penn State Butterfly Tent and Entomology Extravaganza gave another chance for hands-on, one-on-one learning. The Pedal Go-Kart Derby was a big attraction. Shaver’s Environmental Center gave back-to-back talks on snakes, reptiles, birds of prey, owls and amphibians. The 4-H Building had bunnies to hold, weaving exhibits and a fun photo booth.
And that’s just some of the attractions for the kids. There were exhibits and educational sessions for horse owners and for dairy, beef and backyard chicken producers. Managing woodlots and providing habitat for and managing deer were covered. A whole series of sessions covered energy savings possible in different types of farming.
Nutrition and recipe info, Ag rescue simulations and skid steer safety demos, along with demonstrations of corn chopping, bale handling and baling high moisture alfalfa were available. There were about 481 exhibitors to visit. All in all, Penn State put on a great show, well organized and well run throughout.