HARRISBURG, Pa. — Exhibitors and visitors from all corners of the Mid-Atlantic arrived in Pennsylvania’s capital city to experience the largest indoor agricultural event in the United States, the Pennsylvania Farm Show, in its 101st year. More than 16,400 competitive exhibits — including 3,134 competitive exhibitors and nearly 300 commercial exhibitors — were on display within the 24 acres spread throughout the complex’s 11 halls and three arenas.
The show kicked off with the traditional unveiling of a butter sculpture crafted by Jim Victor of Conshohocken, Montgomery County. Weighing more than 1,000-pounds, this year’s sculpture was based on the theme of “The Culture of Stewardship.” It depicts the commitment of dairy farmers across the commonwealth to conserve and maintain the land, air and water on their farms and in their communities. This project was sponsored by the American Dairy Association of the North East and the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program.
Scholarships of $3,500 were awarded to 28 students from across the state, each courtesy of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Scholarship Foundation, which has awarded 500 scholarships (more than $1.4 million) to junior Farm Show exhibitors since the program began in 1993. Additionally, those who were full-time students of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences received an extra $2,000.
Vendors at the Food Court kept busy serving up Farm Show favorites for hungry visitors. As of Saturday morning, the following products were sold or consumed:
- The Pennsylvania’s Cattlemen’s Association Booth whipped up more than 540 burgers and used more than 200 rib eye steaks and more than 360 pounds of beef for cheesesteaks;
- The Pennsylvania Livestock Association sold more than 5,000 roast beef sandwiches, 5,000 barbecue pork sandwiches and 2,000 pounds of lamb stew.
- PennAg Industries Association sold more than 12,000 pounds of pulled pork, 13,000 hot dogs, 5,000 pieces of chocolate covered bacon, 4,300 pounds of chicken nuggets, and 66,300 Martin’s potato rolls;
- Pennsylvania Maple Syrup Producers sold more than 6,600 bags of maple cotton candy, 600 gallons of maple syrup, and 75 gallons of Mapleade;
- The Pennsylvania State Horticulture Association sold more than 10,000 apple dumplings, 12,000 quarts of apple cider, and 75 bushels of apples.
- Pennsylvania Mushroom Grower’s Cooperative sold more than 10,000 pounds of mushrooms;
- Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers sold 7,200 servings of batter-dipped vegetables, 6,000 blooming onions, 3,000 funnel cakes, 5,600 bowls of soup, 1,600 bowls of salad, 1,500 pickles, 600 pieces of pie, 784 vegetable wraps, 6,550 strawberry surprises, and 2,800 raspberry lemonades.
- Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association used more than 20,000 gallons of milkshake mix, 140 pounds of American cheese, 380 loaves of bread for grilled cheese sandwiches, and 3.65 tons of mozzarella cheese.
- Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association sold more than 1,500 gallons of honey ice cream and used more than 1,000 pounds of waffle mix.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, featuring 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 7-13 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and January 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $15 in Farm Show lots. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessible from nearby Interstate 81.