New ‘Farm and Home Day’ A Big Hit in Susquehanna County

The Elk Lake High School gymnasium was full of local residents learning what products and services are available to help enhance their rural lives at the 32nd annual Farm and Home Day, where a free lunch was enjoyed by hundreds of guests.

Photos and story by Rick Hiduk

(exclusive to readers)

Susquehanna County Farm and Home Day drew more than 500 guests to Elk Lake High School on April 18. The event formerly known as Ag Day had to be canceled due to the pandemic in 2021, so its return was a cause for celebration.

It was nice to see members from the community again after not seeing them for a couple of years,” said Sarah Welch, administrative assistant for Susquehanna County Penn State Extension, which coordinates the day’s activities. In addition to a name change, the event was moved for the first time to the day after Easter. “I was a little nervous with the date change and the possibility of not having as many attendees. All circumstances considered, it was a great turnout.”

Susquehanna County 4-H educator SarahRae Sisson was pleased with the participation of many 4-H and Dairy Promotion members, as well as the enthusiasm of guests who participated in their games and hand-son activities. “I loved seeing the kids from the community enjoying the 4-H prize wheel and the make-and-take table where they could make a mess with dirt and get really creative with their decorations.”

Dairy Promotion princesses and ambassadors manned a “dairy wheel” and passed out cheese, milk and dishes of ice cream. They also assisted with the annual pie auction which, this year, brought in more than $10,000 that will be split evenly among both 4-H and Dairy Promotion for future activities and programs.

Vendors from numerous ag-related businesses and organizations filled both the school gymnasium and the hallway leading to the cafeteria, where guests enjoyed a free lunch sponsored by Coterra Energy. Penn State Extension educators drew adults into classrooms with presentations on a variety of topics related to rural living.

Susquehanna County commissioner Betsy Arnold (above) welcomed the crowd and served as emcee for most of the event. Billy Lopatofsky pushed the bidding for the pie auction.

Bonnie Morris (above, left) of Coterra chats with Charlie Jayne of West Auburn and Steve Kamarauskas.

Vanessa Billings-Seiler (left) and Cain Chamberlin of EMHR asked guests questions related to Susquehanna County heritage.

4-H members show visiting youths how to grow a homemade chia pet.

Dairy Promotion member Kali Harvatine plays Dairy Trivia with Nina Rockwell of Montrose. “How much calcium is in a glass of milk?” The answer is 300 mg.

Dennis Mann (center) and Richard Simmons (right) appreciate some gifts from Williams Companies distributed by Tammy Bonnice.

Holy Harvatine of Kingsley explains this year’s Dairy Promotion display.

Jen Daubert Delaina Jayne welcome guests at the registration table.

Rose Ann Clough (left) and Maureen Hoover (center) share their knowledge of entomology with Bill Miller of Laceyville.

Introduction to topiary with Ruth Malenda.

4-H member Hannah Fearnley (left) assists Dairy Promotion teammates Ava Hughes and Maci Harvatine as they deliver ice cream and cheese to vendors along Education Row like Heather Taber.

Penn State Extension client relations manager Mark Madden explains the importance of Farm and Home Day to WNEP reporter Claire Alfree.

Eleanore Palmer (right) picks up a Farm to You guide from Riley Sweeney of the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

Dairy Promotion team members Mikayla Davis, Courtney Marvin, Katelyn Farley, and Chelsea Empet.

Cassandra Trivett of Auburn Township raises awareness of the sad realities of “finning” as a representatives of Shark Angels.

Master Gardeners Anson Hedges and Leslie Charles had plenty of information to share with guests.

Natasia Bender of Lawton gathers some information from Penn State Extension water steward Jeremy Leaidicker.

Michal Lunak provided lessons in cattle raising.

Peter Wulfhurst conducted several sessions on pond and lake management and keeping drinking water safe.

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