Harrisburg - With record crowds, more than 10,000 competitive exhibits, 6,000 animals and 300 commercial exhibitors, the 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show celebrated agriculture from farm gate to dinner plate.
Ideal weather, the show's affordability and family-friendly activities boosted attendance all week, starting off with all-time high Farm Show attendance on Saturday, Jan. 7. Record attendance followed on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday of show week. Nearly 70,000 vehicles were parked in Farm Show lots throughout the week, compared to 55,000 parked last year - a 22 percent increase.
Show week kicked off with the unveiling of the butter sculpture, crafted by Jim Victor of Conshohocken, Montgomery County. The sculpture, which features a young 4-H member showing his calf at a county fair, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the state 4-H program and the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs.
New to the show this year was the Today's Agriculture exhibit, a life-sized barn that showed the public how the food supply is produced on modern farms. It featured crops, equipment and dairy, beef, swine, veal and poultry animals.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show Scholarship Foundation presented 26 students with $3,500 scholarships. Started in 1993, the Foundation has awarded nearly $977,250 in scholarships to 370 Farm Show youth exhibitors.
PA PreferredTM products were showcased in a number of unique displays at the Farm Show, in the PA Marketplace, the PA PreferredTM Food Court and on the PA PreferredTM Culinary Connection Stage. PA PreferredTM is the official branding program for commonwealth produced agricultural commodities.
At the PA marketplace located in the Main Hall, nearly 50 PA PreferredTM vendors of products sampled and sold their products to Farm Show visitors. The PA PreferredTM Culinary Connections stage helped visitors learn how to integrate PA PreferredTM products into their diet through an exciting array of cooking demonstrations, culinary competitions and other demonstrations.
The PA PreferredTM Food Court boasted time-honored favorites and a new PA PreferredTM pizza, featuring products produced in the state.
Due to record attendance, almost every booth ran out of supplies during the week despite their efforts to match the increased demand. As of Saturday morning, the following products were sold or consumed:
- Pennsylvania Co-operative Potato Growers sold 22,500 dozen doughnuts, 30,000 baked potatoes, 10,000 sweet potatoes and nearly 40,000 servings of French fries. They used 18,750 pounds of flour, 6,800 pounds of shortening, 3,500 pounds of frying oil, 1,500 pounds of butter and 450 gallons of ketchup;
- The Pennsylvania Sate Horticulture Association sold 8,400 apple dumplings, 60 bushels of apples and 3,500 gallons of apple cider;
- Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association used 14,000 gallons of milkshake mix, over 6,000 grilled cheese sandwiches, and 6,000 pounds of Mozzarella cheese;
- Pennsylvania Livestock Association sold more than 35,150 barbecue, roast beef, sausage, hot dog and meatball sandwiches, 2,500 cups of lamb stew and 500 steak and ham salads;
- PennAg Industries sold more than 24,000 sandwiches with 6,000 of those being dinners, including 11,000 fish sandwiches. They sold more than 14,000 chicken breast sandwiches, 33,500 chicken nuggets, 2,000 whoopie pies and 3,480 sticky buns. A new addition to the menu, there were more than 1,000 pulled pork nachos sold;
- Pennsylvania Maple Syrup Producers sold more than 5,000 bags of maple cotton candy and 550 gallons of maple syrup;
- Pennsylvania FFA Association sold more than 14,000 slices of PA PreferredTM pizza;
- Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers sold 11,000 Strawberry Surprise drinks, 6,600 pounds of onions, 3,400 salads, 600 veggie wraps, 8,400 bowls of soup and 2,000 pickles;
- The Pennsylvania Cattlemen's Association Booth used 5,040 eggs to make their breakfast sandwiches throughout the week;
- Pennsylvania Mushroom Grower's Cooperative sold more than 7,000 pounds of mushrooms;
- Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association sold more than 750 gallons of honey ice cream and 6,800 pounds of honey between their booths in the Food Court and Main Hall, and used 670 pounds of waffle mix.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 7-14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $10. Visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us for details.
For photos, click here.