Mini golf, food demos, robot to be featured at Ag Progress Days Family Room

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Mini golf, food demonstrations, child identification kits, the dangers of texting and driving, and a talking robot all will be showcased in the Family Room building at the 2013 Ag Progress Days.

Christina Becker, extension associate for Penn State's Pesticide Education Program and coordinator of the Family Room, noted that each activity follows a central theme.  

Located on Main Street between West Eighth and Ninth streets at the Ag Progress Days site, the Family Room again will be filled with family-oriented exhibitors, she noted. "This year, we are expanding the focus on family health and safety with even more fun and interactive displays."

Mini golf, an old standby in the Family Room, will have a new focus, theme and name this year: "Insecticides and People in the Outdoors -- Protect Yourself from Insect Pests."

"The interactive miniature golf exhibit will focus on insect pests that bite, sting or transmit disease to humans," Becker said. "The game will reveal protective measures used to control them, including the safe use of insecticides -- when needed -- on and near people."

A new exhibit sure to be of interest to many Family Room visitors is "Stay Alive -- Don't Text and Drive!" Sponsored by Penn State University Police, the hands-on exhibit allows teenagers to experience texting and driving and to see the consequences.

They can use their own cell phone while driving on a simulated course using an interactive electronic gaming system.

The exhibit, "Make an ID Kit for Your Child," also hosted by the Penn State University Police, is returning for a second year. It will feature a child-identification and fingerprinting program that will include DNA sampling. Police officers will be present to fingerprint, and speak with children and parents.

While at the Family Room, visitors can interact with DB Pest, a talking robot that will wander around the front of the building.

Healthy lifestyles food demonstrations will be offered hourly so food enthusiasts can observe healthful recipes being prepared. Attendees can gather serving ideas, taste the resulting fare and receive copies of the featured recipes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's "My Plate" -- the descendent of the Food Pyramid that guides consumers toward healthy eating -- will be featured prominently in the food demonstrations.

A "MyPlate" scavenger hunt also will be held. Participating children can use USDA's "MyPlate" model to plan a healthy meal and locate food items from Ag Progress Days vendors.

Other Family Room exhibits include:

-- Dining with Diabetes. The youth-friendly "Carbohydrates Count!" display will engage families in conversation about diabetes and dispel the myth that eating too many carbohydrates or sugar causes diabetes. Youth will see how the body uses carbohydrates for energy and will take part in hands-on activities to show which foods contain carbohydrates and which do not. Visitors will see why people with diabetes must be conscious of the amount of carbohydrate they eat.

-- Naturally Flavored Water. Visitors can taste water flavored with natural products and learn the importance of water in their daily diet. The human body is over 60 percent water, and the brain needs water to work well. Water helps with digestion, carries oxygen and cushions organs. The display will feature a guessing game on the amount of water in various foods.

-- Home Food Preservation. Information will be available about home food preservation and safety.

Food demonstrations will be held at the following times:

10 a.m., Food Preservation: Step-by-Step Guide to Canning Tomatoes
11 a.m., Dining with Diabetes: Recipes for the Family -- Delicious Summer Veggies in a Flash
Noon, Summer Salads for Everyone -- Farm Fresh Produce: Healthy for Diabetes, Healthy for All
1 p.m., Beautiful and Nutrient-full: A Classic Salad for Any Occasion
2 p.m., Food Preservation: Step-by-Step Guide to Canning Tomatoes
3 p.m., Stop By for Demo Recipes -- Get the Whole Collection for 2013

10 a.m., Healthy Summer Beverages: Refreshing and Delicious Summer Quenchers
11 a.m., Kids in the Kitchen: Involve the Family in Fun and Delicious Ways
Noon, Lean Bean Protein: Add a Splash of Flavor with Salsa
1 p.m., Cooking with Herbs: Nature's Seasoning Makes it Delicious
2 p.m., Lean Bean Protein: Add a Splash of Flavor with Salsa
3 p.m., Seasoning with Herbs: Cold Dishes Benefit from Fresh Herbs

10 a.m., In the Kitchen with Silicone: Trying New Dishes Using Silicone Cookware
11 a.m., Let's Wrap and Roll: Roll up a Lunch or Dinner in a Flash
Noon, Breakfast on the Run: Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 13; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 14; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 15. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website at Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress, and Facebook users can find the event here.

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Last Updated July 22, 2013