Manheim Farm Show breaks ground on show, sales ring expansion

By on May 10, 2017

 

Manheim Community Farm Show held a “corn-breaking” ceremony for the expansion of the show and sales ring in Building 3 at the Farm Show complex on May 5. Doing the honors were (left to right) Marlin Becker, Manheim Farm Show  president;  Stephanie Balmer, Manheim Farm Show 2016 queen; Representative Mindy Fee;  Senator Ryan Aument; and Manheim Mayor Scot Funk. (Photos by Preston Whitcraft)

Manheim Community Farm Show held a “corn-breaking” ceremony for the expansion of the show and sales ring in Building 3 at the Farm Show complex on May 5. Doing the honors were (left to right) Marlin Becker, Manheim Farm Show president; Stephanie Balmer, Manheim Farm Show 2016 queen; Representative Mindy Fee; Senator Ryan Aument; and Manheim Mayor Scot Funk. (Photos by Preston Whitcraft)

Manheim Community Farm Show members have often pointed to two key words in their name — “community” and “farm” — as being central to their mission. So it may not be surprising that the ground-breaking ceremony for the expansion of the show and sales ring in Building 3 at the Farm Show complex, 502 E. Adele Ave., was a “corn-breaking” ceremony instead.

Glenn Stotlzfus, vice-president, explained that the event on Friday, May 5, was intended to be more of a traditional ground-breaking. However morning rain and a wet forecast meant that it was moved indoors.

“Rather than fill a perfectly good feed trough with dirt, it was decided that it would be more appropriate to use corn,” he explained. “However, the sun appeared just in time, and just long enough, to move the event, and the corn, back outdoors.”

The building will maintain the same footprint, but the show ring will expand from nearly 60-feet-by- 60-feet to about 62-feet-by-81-feet. The new show ring is being named Champions Arena, in honor of all those who have shown animals at the Manheim Farm Show over the past 64 years and all of those who will show there in the future.

Stoltzfus pointed to former agriculture secretary Sam Hayes’ quote: “The local fair is the classroom and the laboratory of the next generation.”

2016 Farm Show Queen Stephanie Balmer addresses the crowd.

2016 Farm Show Queen Stephanie Balmer addresses the crowd.

Emily Witmer, Manheim FFA president, said that the project will increase the capacity for both showmen and spectators. Stoltzfus added that a walkway around the perimeter of the area will provide access for spectators, while designated pathways in the show area will provide a better traffic flow for showmen and their animals. Witmer explained that prior to the expansion, showmen and their animals would be entering and exiting the ring using the same pathways, and those same pathways were also used by spectators.

“Spectators and buyers will be able to enter the seating area without dodging pigs, goats, steers and manure piles,” Stoltzfus said.

The nearly $175,000 project will create a cathedral ceiling in the new arena to accommodate new, taller bleachers. The spectator area will also be handicap accessible.

Scenic Ridge Construction began work on the project on May 2; the anticipated completion date is July. Stoltzfus said that allows the committee time to put finishing touches on the arena and reconfigure the rest of the building prior to the Farm Show’s opening on Oct. 9.

Former agriculture secretary Sam Hayes once said, "The local fair is the classroom and the laboratory of the next generation.”  This is readily apparent in Manheim.

Former agriculture secretary Sam Hayes once said, “The local fair is the classroom and the laboratory of the next generation.” This is readily apparent in Manheim.

Stoltzfus said that the project is being funded by a $25,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Fair Fund. The Manheim Central Ag-Ed program has also secured a $1,000 grant from Tractor Supply. Additionally the Manheim FFA show team members have all pledged to support the project.

Stoltzfus said that the Farm Show committee welcomes donations from the community. Contributions should be payable to Manheim Farm Show ­ Arena, and mailed to Farm Show treasurer Lisa Hess, 1346 Habecker Road, Columbia, PA 17512.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

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