Agriculture Secretary George Greig said record crowds attended the 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show, the nation's largest indoor agriculture event, held January 5-12 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.
Themed, "Made in PA. It makes a difference," the show featured PA Preferred, the official brand of agricultural products made or grown in Pennsylvania.
"The Farm Show is a celebration of the best of Pennsylvania agriculture--the best animals, the best produce, the best handmade items," said Greig. "It's a rich part of our heritage and a vital component of the state's future."
An estimated 585,000 visitors walked through the complex's doors during the eight-day celebration of agriculture, according to an attendance study. Attendants parked 71,153 cars, up 4 percent from last year.
Visitors saw more than 10,000 competitive exhibits, nearly 300 commercial exhibitors and nearly 7,000 animals spread across one million square feet in 11 halls and three arenas.
The show kicked off with the unveiling of a 1,200-pound butter sculpture fashioned by Jim Victor of Conshohocken, Montgomery County. The sculpture highlighted PA Preferred and several of the state's top commodities including dairy products, grapes and wine, Christmas trees, fruits and vegetables.
The PA Preferred Marketplace located in the Main Hall featured nearly 50 PA Preferred vendors who drew crowds by letting them sample their products. Other activities, like the PA Preferred Culinary Connection and the Battle of the 'Burg cook-off, helped visitors learn how to use more local products in their diets.
New events were unveiled, including the Great Grape Stomp and Cow Patty Bingo.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show Scholarship Foundation presented 25 students with $3,500 scholarships. The foundation, founded in 1993, marked two milestones in its history as it celebrated its 20th year of giving and its 1 millionth donated dollar.
The Today's Agriculture exhibit, which was a new addition to the show last year, continued to educate the public about agriculture and food production. The exhibit featured live animals, including 155 chickens, 12 piglets, four veal calves and one dairy heifer.
Record attendance kept the PA Preferred Food Court vendors busy meeting the increased demand of Farm Show favorites:
Pennsylvania Co-operative Potato Growers sold more than 300,000 doughnuts, 35,000 baked potatoes and nearly 45,000 servings of French fries. They used 200,000 pounds of doughnut mix, 7,500 pounds of shortening, 3,500 pounds of frying oil, 1,500 pounds of butter and 600 gallons of ketchup;
- The Pennsylvania Cattlemen's Association boasted more than 2,000 steak, egg and cheese sandwiches;
- The Pennsylvania Livestock Association sold more than 7,650 hot dogs, 6,500 lemonades, 1,300 pounds of Italian sausage, 1,800 pounds of lamb stew and 6,000 pounds of pork and beef sandwiches;
- PennAg Industries Association sold more than 20,000 pounds of pulled pork, 7,000 hot dogs, 60,000 chicken nuggets, 5,000 chicken sandwiches, 10,000 whoopie pies, 10,000 fish sandwiches and 256 gallons of chowder;
- Pennsylvania Maple Syrup Producers increased their sales by 5 percent, selling more than 5,000 bags of maple cotton candy and 550 gallons of maple syrup;
- The Pennsylvania State Horticulture Association sold 8,200 apple dumplings and more than 120 bushels of apples;
- Pennsylvania Mushroom Grower's Cooperative sold more than 8,000 pounds of mushrooms;
- Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers sold 7,500 blooming onions, 600 vegetable wraps, 8,000 strawberry and raspberry surprise drinks, 8,800 bowls of soup and 1,800 pickles;
- Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association used three tractor-trailer loads of milkshake mix, cooked up more than 6,000 grilled cheese sandwiches and 6,000 pounds of mozzarella cheese; and
- The Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association sold more than 2.5 tons of honey and 800 gallons of honey ice cream, and used more than 650 pounds of waffle mix.
For more information, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us