(Editor’s note: The All-Dairy Antiques and Collectibles Show is a growing part of Pennsylvania’s All-American Dairy Show. When hurricane-triggered rains swelled the waters of the Susquehanna River last month, the Pa. Farm Show Complex was flooded and all events canceled.
The following is Darwin Braund’s behind-the-scenes account. Braund, who is stepping down as volunteer show manager, watched his final show make history, but not like he envisioned.)
HARRISBURG, Pa. – The motel room phone rang at 4 a.m. Sept. 18.
“The Farm Show Complex is flooding! Get here as soon as possible!”
Thus began the seventh All-Dairy Antiques and Collectibles Show in Harrisburg, scheduled to open five hours later at 9 a.m.
The results of Hurricane Ivan had flooded the old and sprawling complex leaving only the 2-year-old exposition facilities above flood level. All but a few of the 63 registered antiques exhibitors had their displays in place.
Word spread rapidly among exhibitors staying in the area that we faced a serious problem.
In the dark. Frustration accompanied the rising water. The main overhead lights were shut off. Within an hour the auxiliary (emergency) lights went out.
A portable light stand with a generator was pulled in by truck. Of course, the generator would not run.
A few exhibitors had flashlights, so for a couple of hours work was accomplished by flashlight.
All for one. The level of camaraderie among the exhibitors, however, far exceeded the level of the water, as the efforts of several exhibitors saved all antiques and packing materials stored on the floor.
By noon Saturday, the state secretary of agriculture and the All-American Dairy Show management decided to cancel all remaining events scheduled through Thursday.
Word soon followed that the entire Farm Show Complex was under mandatory evacuation orders.
The water level in the antiques exhibition hall hit 12 inches before receding.
What you missed. For this seventh show, Ayrshire breed items were featured. John Reed Rogers from Belleville, Pa., brought his three-times life-size Ayrshire cow as the major backdrop for the show.
She arrived “polled” (minus the famous horns) because of highway transport height restrictions, but was soon restored to homed dignity onsite.
I especially regret the public was unable to see the beautiful display of unique Ayrshire milk bottles and memorabilia in the central exhibit.
The 2004 show had 63 registered exhibitors, stretching from Massachusetts to Minnesota, and from Vermont to Virginia.
Including this year, the show has drawn 123 different registered exhibitors, 11 of which have participated in all seven shows.
The continuation of the All-Dairy Antiques & Collectibles Show will be decided by the board of directors of the All-American Dairy Cattle Show.