Last year, Tatum Huffmann and his grandmother just watched.
But this year the 4-year-old Thomasville boy was big enough to participate in the Youth Pedal Tractor Pull.
Inside the Equine Arena at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, Tatum waited in line among dozens of kids who traveled there from counties all across the commonwealth.
His eyes grew bigger as his turn neared and he watched preschoolers ahead of him in line pedal small John Deere tractors, pulling a light load behind them.
Each child made a different distance; some pedaled for 20 feet, and some made it 3 feet. Tatum made it 13 feet during his first try, and he and the other kids received a Matchbox-size toy tractor for their efforts.
The brown-haired boy smiled as he dismounted the tractor and walked over to his grandmother, Brenda Belcher, an Adams County resident.
She asked him if it was fun, and he nodded yes.
Belcher said she had taken Tatum to the farm show before, and she was happy he finally got to participate in the tractor pull.
"The kids really enjoy it," she said.
Tons of onions:
Normally, Dave Miller spends his time at his family-owned farm and garden center in York Township.
But this week he's continuing a 20-year tradition of helping out at the farm show.
Because this is the seasonal downtime at the Miller Plant Farm - it reopens in mid-February - he's serving fried vegetables for a cause he believes in.
All the proceeds from the sales of $7 bloomin' onions, and other deep fried vegetables sold at the stand, are invested in vegetable research.
"It's a worthy cause, and we grow a lot of vegetables at the farm. So by coming here and giving them volunteer labor, I'm helping the industry," Miller said.
Three people from the Miller farm have each worked two 10-hour shifts in the food court at the farm show this week, he said.
Throughout the week, their booth will sell 185 large bags of onions, totaling 4 tons.
"That's a lot of onions," Miller said.
Down on the farm:
Who needs the beach?
Bunny Yinger said she has a better idea for Yorkers who are tired of the same old vacations. People are trading surf and sand for pastures and egg hunts, booking week-long stays at Pennsylvania farms, said Yinger, co-owner of the Berry Patch Bed & Breakfast in Lebanon.
Pennsylvania Farm Vacation Association participants - none of which are in York County - all have a different theme, she said.
The Berry Patch Bed & Breakfast, for example, can be thought of as a romantic getaway, Yinger said.
But at some farms, guests will wake up to the crow of a rooster and a homemade breakfast instead of a morning sun rising above the sea.
"Our farms have everything - dairy cows, beef cattle, chickens, sheep," she said.
At her booth inside the Main Hall of the farm show, she received a lot of interest from grandparents.
"They said they want to bring their grandkids to hunt for eggs and experience country living. A lot of people like to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and get into some peace and quiet," Yinger said.
- Reach Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.