Pennsylvania is a state full of surprises and just happens to be the host of the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country. They offer up a whopping 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits. It runs January 4th through 11th and is well worth the trip to Harrisburg for this annual event. They have a website that details events, directions and places to stay. People travel the world over just to see the famous butter sculpture. It has a different theme every year and have focused on the dairy industry with their current milkshake exhibit. It is made from nearly 1000 pounds of high grade butter and commemorates 60 years of milkshakes at the show. The sculpture by Jim Victor takes its cue from the song Shake, Rattle and Roll and features a family enjoying a delicious milkshake while watching a cow couple dance.
The famous milkshakes have a faithful following at the show and represent the state’s 7,200 dairy farm families who grow Pennsylvania by driving the economy, creating jobs and supplying quality products to consumers.
They serve 140,000 of vanilla, chocolate and mixed milkshakes each year in the show’s famous Food Court and Food Court Annex. They also serve farm fresh baked potatoes, potato donuts, and baked sweet potatoes. The Bee Keepers Association supplies honey ice cream, honey waffles and bottles of fresh honey. The Livestock Association serves up pork barbeque sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, lamb stew, ham and cheese sandwiches, beef meatball sandwiches, beef sausage, Jumbo beef/pork hot dogs, Italian sausage, steak salad, ham salad, horseradish and pink lemonade. The SHAP booth is committed to raising money for the apple and fruit tree industry and one of their major benefactors is the fruit research lab in Biglerville. They sell apple cider, fresh apples, apple dumplings with ice cream, apple butter, cider floats, caramel apples on a stick, dried apple snacks, cider slushies and apple or peach sundaes. There are over a dozen official associations serving the widest array of fresh food you are likely to find in one place for a long time.
While the food alone is reason enough to go, there are plenty of other attractions to entertain and intrigue. Where else will you find twelve year old girls roping cattle, cooking demonstrations and Christmas tree exhibits all within easy reach of each other. I promise you will see the largest pies and livestock you ever imagined and wonders you will talk about for ages. There is even a fashion show. Just think back to Home Economics 101.
There is an educational series called Farm Show Quests that teach about agriculture in a fun and engaging way. It makes for a great family outing that is more wholesome than Disney. Don’t even get me started on that one. But we are lucky to have this grand event so close to home and it is something sure to surpass your wildest expectations.