BLOG: Highlights from the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show

By: Russell C. Redding, Secretary of Agriculture

January 29, 2016

Exhibitors and visitors from all corners of the Mid-Atlantic arrived to Pennsylvania’s capital city in early January to experience the largest indoor agricultural event in the United States, the Pennsylvania Farm Show, for its centennial celebration. And what a celebration it was!

More than 10,000 competitive exhibits and nearly 300 commercial exhibitors were on display within the 24 acres spread throughout the complex’s 11 halls and three arenas.

With the unusual warm January weather, the family-oriented atmosphere and low prices continued to bring in spectators all week, with more than 62,197 vehicles parked from Saturday through Friday.

The Butter Sculpture

The show kicked off with the traditional unveiling of the more than 1,000-pound butter sculpture crafted by Jim Victor of Conshohocken, Montgomery County. To honor the 100th show, the sculpture was based on the show’s theme of “Our Commonwealth’s Blue Ribbon Experience,” portraying everything from an FFA member showing her cow to a quilt and spinning wheel.

2016 Farm Show butter sculpture
Centennial Milkshake

Besides the normal vanilla and chocolate flavors, the 2016 event marked the debut of a new flavor of Farm Show milkshake – strawberries and cream. It was revealed at the opening of the Food Court on January 8, kicking off the start of the 2016 show.

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Celebrating The Farm Show Legacy

For the celebration of the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show, exhibitors and visitors had the chance to buy the book “Hold Your Horses! The Pennsylvania Farm Show at 100,” which commemorates the history of the show throughout the past century.

Written by long-time Farm Show reporter Mary Klaus, the book contains hundreds of stories from participants throughout the years, a background of the nation’s largest indoor agricultural exposition, and a profile of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties and their county fairs.

Food Fun Facts

Vendors at the Food Court kept busy providing visitors with Farm Show favorites.

Farm Show food vendor preparing food

The following products were sold or consumed:

  • The Pennsylvania’s Cattlemen’s Association Booth whipped up more than 2,250 burgers and used more than 3,220 pounds of prime rib and more than 4,640 pounds of beef for cheesesteaks.
  • The Pennsylvania Livestock Association sold more than 10,000 roast beef sandwiches, 3,000 meatball subs, 10,000 barbeque pork sandwiches, 4,000 hot sausages, 5,000 Italian sausages, 4,200 goat tacos, 2,000 servings of lamb stew and 850 servings of steak salad.
  • PennAg Industries Association sold more than 12,600 pounds of pulled pork, 14,000 hot dogs, 7,000 pieces of chocolate covered bacon, 5,000 fish nachos, and 105 gallons PennAg Farm Show BBQ Sauce.
  • Pennsylvania Maple Syrup Producers sold more than 6,500 bags of maple cotton candy, 500 gallons of maple syrup and 250 gallons of Mapleade.
  • The Pennsylvania State Horticulture Association sold more than 6,000 apple dumplings, 7,500 quarts of apple cider, and 25 bushels of apples.
  • The Pennsylvania Mushroom Grower’s Cooperative sold more than 12,400 pounds of mushrooms.
  • Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers sold 7,000 servings of batter-dipped vegetables, 6,000 blooming onions, 3,000 funnel cakes, 5,255 bowls of soup, 1,600 bowls of salad, 1,500 pickles, 850 pieces of pie, 700 vegetable wraps, 7,300 strawberry surprises and 2,475 raspberry lemonades.
  • The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association used more than 19,000 gallons of milkshake mix, 75 pounds of American cheese and 260 loaves of bread for grilled cheese sandwiches, 450 gallons of ice cream and 4.1 tons of mozzarella cheese.
  • The Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association sold more than 1,400 gallons of honey ice cream and used more than 700 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.

According to a report issued by the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau, the 2015 show had an estimated economic impact of $95 million to the south-central Pennsylvania region, supporting more than 18,000 jobs over the course of the week-long event.

I thank everyone who visited, as well as those everyone who helped with planning and execution of the 2016 show. Your time, efforts and dedication were truly appreciated. Please accept my sincerest gratitude for all you did to help us execute a successful 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show!

Discussions have already begun for the 2017 show — and we hope to see you then!

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