Pennsylvania is proud to host the largest indoor agricultural exposition under one roof in the nation. The event showcases the quality and breadth of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry and the people who make it thrive. The show offers visitors a tiny slice of the industry that employs nearly half a million people and contributes $132.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy every year.
This year’s theme, “Rooted in Progress,” honors our roots and vision for the future.
Since colonial days, farming has remained one of Pennsylvania’s top industries. In the mid-1600s, Pennsylvania’s founder William Penn organized an agricultural show for farmers to gather and share their knowledge. Throughout the next several hundred years, the gatherings were held in various locations throughout the state and eventually migrated to the capitol of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. It was spread through various buildings in the downtown area.
As popularity for the event and multiple uses for the facility grew, additional funding was granted to the Commission governing the facility to erect a coliseum. In 1938, construction began on the Large Arena that was to include floor space, seating and additional meeting areas. From 1942 through 1946, the Commission leased the premises for the war effort. First, it was used as a training center for the Army Air Corps to train ground maintenance personnel. The aircraft engine repair school was phased out and the Middletown Air Service Command moved its engine repair department to the facility. After the entities vacated the Farm Show Complex, the red mastic tile was installed in the Main Exhibition Hall. This tile is still in the East and West Fire Corridors.
In 2001, work began on a $76 million expansion and renovation of the facility. The Exposition Hall, Equine Arena, Equine Barn, wash racks, connector links, new heat and air handling units in the Large and Small Arenas, a new entrance to the Large Arena and an additional off-site parking area was included in the project. This latest expansion increased the exhibit space to nearly one million square feet including eight major halls and three arenas. Throughout the years, the Farm Show has continued to thrive and grow, most recently hosting 585,000 visitors during the eight-day event. Today, the Farm Show remains the largest indoor agricultural event in the world that includes 24 acres of animals, educational encounters, displays and food, family, and fun.