Visitors who come to the 5th Annual Lebanon Valley Poultry Fanciers Show on October 12 at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center will be crowing with delight when they take in all the activities the event has to offer and see the beautiful birds that are there to strut their stuff.
The event opens at 9am and lasts ’til 4pm, and admission and parking are free. The Expo Center’s refreshment area will be open with various fair food for sale.
The club’s poultry show always takes place on the Saturday of Columbus Day weekend, said Lebanon Valley Poultry Fanciers president Dana Lape of South Lebanon Township.
Poultry contenders will come from at least 15 different states to peck away at the prize money.
More than $2,225 will be handed out to champion chickens this year, Lape said.
That ain’t chickenfeed.
Poultry fanciers come from as far west as Indiana, as far north as Connecticut, and as far south as North Carolina to show off their special feathered friends.
“They bring really nice, show-quality birds,” Lape said. “It’s very impressive to see the different varieties.”
All those fancy birds make for an egg-citing day.
This Saturday will see three shows in one; the Lebanon Valley Rabbit Breeders will be showing many breeds of rabbits, and a goat show will also be held.
It’s a good, fun family day, Lape said, with plenty to catch a child’s interest, like learning the sounds of different birds. “Things you wouldn’t normally realize, but each different breed of rooster has a different way to crow,” Lape said. “It’s very interesting to hear them all.”
Lape says he’s a hobby farmer, raising his chickens in his backyard, and his sons, Dylan and Dalton, also enjoy showing their chickens and ducks.
“They’ve been showing chickens since they could walk,” Lape said. “It’s a family hobby.”
The Lape family raises Rhode Island Red chickens, White Leghorns, blue and black Olde English game birds, Black East Indies ducks, and white call ducks.
The annual poultry show gives Lebanon County 4-H members a chance to get experience showing their birds, too.
A “Youth Skill-athon” is conducted for youngsters as a fun way to learn more about the various breeds.
Prizes are given to both adult and youth divisions, and showmanship awards are also given to youngsters who demonstrate their chicken handling skills to the judges.
“The coolest thing is the amount of people we get; it helps our tourism,” Lape said. “If you’ve never been to a big chicken show, it’s right here, in your own backyard.”
About 1,500 chickens will be on the premises, and volunteers set up individual pens for each bird.
“We start setting up Wednesday night already,” Lape said. “It is a lot of work.”
The Lebanon Valley club has a few significant differences in their show that they’re proud of, Lape said, including the fact that pens are not stacked; one chicken pen is not atop another.
“We also do a lot of weird things, so there’s more for people to see and do,” Lape said.
One of those events, guaranteed to get people cackling, is “Chicken Poop Bingo,” which is, of course, pretty much like it sounds.
People buy a number (B6 for example) then two chickens are released on a large bingo board and if a chicken “hits” your number, you’re a winner.
“We do that twice during the day,” Lape said.
The competitive poultry art show is another unusual part of the event; entries can be anything from paintings of chickens to Easter egg art.
The top winner receives a $100 gift certificate for photography from professional Myerstown-based photographer Tim McGowan.
“We’re one of the few poultry shows in the country that includes an art show,” Lape said, adding that at least 50 entries are expected.
Also on hand will be a pigeon show, along with ducks, geese, pheasants, and guinea hens.
“It’s all pretty cool,” Lape said. “I like to see when we have a lot of guineas; you don’t see them at many other shows, so we’re always excited.”
An egg show is also on tap, with an award given for the best dozen eggs, and a silent auction will be held for folks to bid on pairs of ducks and chickens.
The public can also buy chickens and ducks on the premises.
“It can be exciting,” Lape said. “It’s also great for the kids because they’re the future of this hobby and this is a good show for them to learn more about it.”
If You Go…
5th Annual Lebanon Valley Poultry Fanciers Show
Lebanon Valley Expo Center
Free parking, free admission.
Saturday, October 12, 9am-4pm
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