Harrisburg, PA - Over the past eight days, half a million visitors from the heart of Pennsylvania, every corner of the commonwealth, and way beyond its borders experienced the stories of the people of Pennsylvania’s agriculture and food industry during the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show.
The 2019 show theme, “Inspiring Pennsylvania’s Story,” highlighted the history, present, and future of the industry that has a $135.7 billion impact on our state’s economy each year, and supports more than 580,000 jobs across the state. Pennsylvania’s state fair has been a collective experience of the industry’s story, told from the perspective of the people who live it every day. Nearly 12,000 competitive exhibits – including 2,479 competitive exhibitors and 237 commercial exhibitors – displayed Pennsylvania’s finest competitors, products, crafts, and commodities in 23 acres spread throughout the complex’s 11 halls and three arenas.
The show kicked off with the traditional unveiling of a butter sculpture depicting the Choose PA Dairy “Find Your Power” campaign — and the benefits of dairy to support healthy lives and healthy people.
Governor Tom Wolf officially opened the show on Saturday, January 5, recognizing the nearly 580,000 Pennsylvanians who work in the agriculture and food industry. During the ceremony, Governor Wolf reinforced his administration’s commitment to building an agriculture industry in which everyone, regardless of their background or zip code, has a chance to succeed.
On Wednesday, Secretary Russell Redding addressed more than 500 state and local officials, noting that agriculture is an incredibly vital industry that policymakers and industry must work collaboratively to strengthen and grow.
Redding also hosted the Army v. Navy Cook-Off, the centerpiece of the show’s Military, Veterans and their Families Day, a full day of events honoring veterans for their service to our country. A full menu of high-profile Pennsylvania chefs, as well as stars from PBS and Food Network, who highlighted the latest in farm-to-table fare on the PA Preferred® Culinary Connection stage throughout the show. Guests sampled recipes prepared by culinary students under the supervision of celebrity chefs
Scholarships of $3,500 were awarded to 24 young exhibitors from across the state, and youth market livestock exhibitors received a total of more than $307,000 for the 435 animals sold during Tuesday’s junior livestock sale.
In addition to the 42 livestock shows, 701 family living categories, and seven baking competitions, the state’s agrarian heritage through antique tractors, hands-on demonstrations, and celebrity competitions.
Ag 101 educational talks and demonstrations, held on GIANT Expo Hall’s Lancaster Farming Stage showcased four Century and Bicentennial Farm families and Pennsylvania’s first ever Tricentennial Farm.
On Friday, Redding helped to unveil a new plan to help increase environmental sustainability, economic benefits, public health, and soil and water quality by promoting innovative farming practices in Pennsylvania’s part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The High Performance Farms Initiative is the product of a collaborative effort by state officials, researchers, farmers, and the public. According to Redding, “recognizes that stewardship of our farms and natural resources is also linked to our dinner plates and farm gates."
Based on a count of paid cars parked, average attendance was up from 2018 every day, with the exception of Friday, Jan. 11. The first three days alone saw an increase of more than 5,800 cars parked.
Throngs of hungry visitors enjoyed traditional favorites, and some new culinary treats highlighting Pennsylvania’s booming organic industry and the diversity of locally produced commodities. Food Court vendors reported record sales, including some* of the following:
- The Pennsylvania Livestock Association sold 45,000 sandwiches.
- Pennsylvania Apple Growers Association sold 180 bushels of apples and 3,000 pints of cider.
- Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers sold 9,050 servings of batter-dipped vegetables, 4,600 blooming onions, 1,200 salads, 6,300 strawberry surprises, and 2,200 raspberry lemonades.
- Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association used more than 21,000 gallons of ice cream in its milk shakes and ice cream cones, 350 loaves of bread for grilled cheese sandwiches, and 3.25 tons of mozzarella cheese for cheese cubes.
- Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association sold more than 600 gallons of honey ice cream and more than 7,500 pounds of honey.
- Pennsylvania Co-operative Potato Growers sold six tons of baking potatoes, 12 tons of French fries, and 24,000 potato donuts.
- Savor sold more than 3,560 Smokey Cyclones and 2,350 Layers – new creations designed for the 2019 show.
Find more photos, and stories of the 2019 Pennsylvania Farm Show at farmshow.pa.gov.
*Editor’s Note: Many of the largest food vendors had not reported sales volume at the time of release.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.603.2056
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