Pennsylvania Farm Show a Milton Hershey School Tradition
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is a time-honored tradition for Milton Hershey School students. This event builds on the MHS Agricultural and Environmental Education (AEE) program, expanding through school clubs and classroom curriculum.
Historically, our students spent many hours on the farms around campus. Milking cows and growing crops is a memory that many of our graduates consistently share. Competing at the Farm Show is a natural progression of that unique hands-on agricultural learning that our students receive.
In the Deed of Trust, Milton Hershey specifically identified agriculture, horticulture, and gardening as part of a sound education. From our earliest school publications, we see mentions of students attending and participating in the Farm Show, winning awards in categories for both livestock and produce ranging from cattle, goats, and pigs to apples, corn, and eggs. This competition piqued student interest in topics like soil erosion, wildlife conservation, and farming techniques still in our curriculum today.
In addition to showing animals, the PA Farm Show is an excellent way for the school to engage with the local community. Some notable moments include when our ceramics club led a pottery-making demonstration in 1940 and the MHS band performed in 1971. There was even a butter sculpture done in 2004 to mark the Hershey Centennial.
Students began attending and competing in the Farms Show as early as the 1930s. However, there were a few years when MHS was not represented. Instead, MHS students participated in other events such as Hershey’s Dutch Days, which began in 1949 and ended in 1979.
Hosting an event in January, after all, can prove difficult. As we know, the weather can create a barrier to attendance. In 1936, one boy wrote in The School Industrialist about “pestering his housefather for three weeks” just to attend the Farm Show. When the big day finally came, they made it to the Farm Show but became stuck in the snow about a quarter mile from their house. To make it home, their housefather walked through the snow and brought back two mules to pull the car the rest of the way to the house.
Even now, AEE continues to be an important cornerstone of our school curriculum. MHS is proud to have its students’ work featured at the Pennsylvania Farm Show once again.