It could be considered the ultimate bellwether that Pennsylvania is plowing through the pandemic and getting back to normal.
The 106th Pennsylvania State Farm Show is set for Jan. 8 through 15 at Harrisburg’s landmark Farm Show Complex on Cameron Street.
But the success of the annual agricultural extravaganza could hinge on the hiring of more than 100 employees, now.
That’s because the state-run Farm Show Complex, like countless businesses today, is hiring.
“People don’t necessarily think about the Farm Show Complex in terms of jobs,” said Shannon Powers, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. “But there’s a mountain of planning that’s going on right now … and we are hiring in order to put on the amazing array of events that go on here.”
Open positions range from part-time, temporary and permanent positions in security, maintenance and skilled trades. All positions are available in a full range of shifts around the clock, which Powers said appeals to many retirees as well as “people who just love the Farm Show.”
“I can’t say enough about these positions—these are things you can’t automate. When there’s a lighting or a sound issue, or an arena needs to be turned over—all those things require people,” Power said. “Making the Farm Show the welcoming environment it is—that requires human power.”
In terms of security alone, there are currently 66 open jobs with a starting pay rate of more than $16 per hour at the complex, which needs 24-hour security.
Skilled laborer positions pay $14.61 per hour, with 62 people currently being sought for the facility’s maintenance, both inside and out. Those employees would be responsible for everything from event setup and teardown to groundskeeping. That includes snow removal—something “Farm Show Week” is notoriously known for.
The last time the Pennsylvania Farm Show was held in person was pre-pandemic, in January 2020. The show was held virtually in 2021.
All of the open positions are vital to the complex’s gearing up for the Pennsylvania Farm Show’s opening in less than three months, Powers said, plus additional events returning to the million-square-foot complex. When asked if she’s worried about filling the positions, Powers said, “Everyone is worried—everyone who runs a business is worried about hiring staff right now. It’s a challenge … it’s a concern.”
While many Pennsylvanians are excited about the return of the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the annual event’s return brings a swirl of emotions and tall tasks this fall, for staff.
“It’s a blend of excitement and fear and trepidation for the amount of planning that’s involved,” Powers said. “Figuring out the logistics—that’s a little bit of an amazing feat that’s more challenging right now than usual.”
For more information on the Farm Show Complex’s jobs, see: security officers, part-time permanent, and laborer listings. And to learn more about the 106th Pennsylvania State Farm Show, visit https://www.farmshow.pa.gov/pafarmshow/Pages/default.aspx.
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