The reason is simple, said Cara O'Donnell, the bureau's destination marketing manager.
"People want to see how their stuff is made," she said. "People aren't aware of how many products are made in York County."
For the 14th summer, the visitors bureau will host its Made in America tours event to give folks a first-hand look at local production lines. From June 20 to 23, several local businesses will throw open their doors to the public. Some offer tours year-round, while others are open only for tours for the event, O'Donnell said.
It gives folks who live around the corner or across the country a good excuse to learn about everything from pretzels to printing. Tour sites don't have to be huge factories to give people an up-close look at manufacturing, O'Donnell said.
Since several tours are free, it's difficult to keep track of the number of visitors Made in America attracts, she added, but businesses big and small have reported increased foot traffic during the event.
The promotion acts as an awareness campaign about the region. And, even if people can't come out next week, Made in America might inspire them to add a factory tour to their summer agenda.
"It's still the driving force for what brings people to York County," O'Donnell said.
Pick up a passport
Download a Made In America passport at www.yorkpa.org. Get it signed at three or more tour locations, complete the questions and turn it into one of the attraction sites to be entered to win prizes.
Where to go
Get a behind-the-scenes look at York County factories during the 14th Annual Made In America Tours June 20 to 23. In addition to year-round tours, Made In America also features some new and event-only tours. Some tours are free and others require admission. Lists of attractions, wineries and breweries are also available, as are getaway packages and overnight lodging packages. For details, call 1-888-858-YORK or visit www.yorkpa.org. Check out these Made in America tours:
Accomac Inn & Events' Codorun Farm, 1535 Hokes Mill Road, West Manchester Twp.
Fun fact: They've been in business for 40 years, Accomac president Charlene Campbell said. The family farm has a small garden that produces lots of crops that are served in dishes at the Accomac Inn. The chef uses heirloom seeds, Campbell said. They recently harvested kale, potatoes and beets. Tomatoes, squash and zucchini are up next.
Bluett Bros. Violins, 122 Hill St., Spring Garden Township
Fun fact: The carved string instruments made in the shop are built with maple and spruce wood that has been air dried since 1967, said owner Mark Bluett. He uses seventh-generation growers. For the guitars, he uses more exotic woods. Letting wood dry for more than two decades ensures that it's better able to conduct vibrations needed to produce good sound. It also prevents cracking, Bluett added.
Family Heir-Loom Weavers, 775 Meadowview Drive, York Township
Fun fact: The weavers produce material used in the movies. One of their products was used in the filming of the upcoming Lincoln biopic produced by Steven Spielberg, said president Pat Kline. The business does a lot of restoration work. "We have carpeting in nine presidents' homes," he said.
George's Woodcrafts Inc., 9 Reichs Church Road, Marietta, Lancaster County
Fun fact: George Martin designed a rocking chair that reclines, but won't topple over. Anthony Heisey, a 25-year employee, said that Martin, who ran the store until his death about two years ago, was inspired by a time when he was 12 years old and fell backward in a rocking chair. The store now sells several different reclining rocking chair sizes, including an extra-large one that is on the showroom floor.
Graphik Masters, 1017 N. Sherman St., Springettsbury Township
Fun fact: The sign shop started with artisans who designed, painted and airbrushed orders by hand. Technology sped things up, said co-owner Cindi Often. Now, they do work for museums, visitors centers and other businesses all across the country. They have a port big enough to work on large buses. Locals might recognize their work on Rabbittransit buses.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company, 1425 Eden Road, Springettsbury Township
Fun fact: Harley offers free tours year-round and during the Made in America event. But visitors who want an upgrade can get a Steel Toe Tour, a new option that started in February. Tours last about two hours and cost $35 per person. Guests wear safety vests and strap on steel toes to their shoes before they get an in-depth look at the plant's features.
Martin's Potato Chips Inc., 5847 Lincoln Highway West, Jackson Township
Fun fact: The plant produces about 850,000 individual chips a day, by president Butch Potter's calculations. That includes 15 different varieties. Visitors can smell and taste a warm chip fresh out of the fryer.
Miss Lucy's Dog Treats, 5241 N. Salem Church Road, Dover Township
Fun fact: This is a new addition to the Made in America lineup. All of the dog treats and bones owner Roxann Gallagher makes are all natural with no preservatives. Dogs can have food allergies, too, so the shop carries wheat-free and gluten-free products as well as some to soothe environmental allergies. Miss Lucy, Gallagher's Dalmatian, is a fruit and vegetable lover, who inspires many of the treats.
Painted Spring Farm Alpacas, 280 Roth Church Road, Jackson Township
Fun fact: Contrary to popular belief, alpacas hardly ever spit at humans, said owner Beth Lutz, who sheers her animals herself once a year and makes items such as yarn from the fiber. Many people might not know alpacas have a gestation period that lasts more than 11 months. Lutz said that she usually welcomes babies - called cria - in the spring. One was just born about two weeks ago and another is on the way.
Revonah Pretzels, 507 Baltimore St., Hanover
Fun fact: The plant tries to be in full production when tours come through, said owner Kevin Bidelspach. And, yes, Revonah is Hanover spelled backward. The factory, which has been operating at the same location for 74 years, can get a little warm in the summer, thanks to the oven. In 1965, the factory upgraded from baking pretzels on a stone deck in a brick oven to using a hearth stone rotary oven that ejects finished pretzels.
Snyder's of Hanover, 1350 York St., Penn Township
Fun fact: William V. Snyder started modernizing the company in the 1940s. He helped create the Potato Chip Institute to improve communication among chip companies. To extend pretzel shelf life and maintain freshness while shipping, Snyder started to use aluminum foil bags, a trend that caught on in the snack industry.
Sonnewald Natural Foods, 4796 Lehman Road, North Codorus Township
Fun fact: When visitors come to Sonnewald, they expect a tour of the shop. But that's just a small part of the farm's 60 acres, said owner Willa Lefever. The property includes the oldest solar residence in the state. Lefever said her father built it as an experiment in 1951 and her mom lives in it. "People who just shop at the store might not even know about it," she said.
Sunrise Soap Company, 29 N. Beaver St., York
Fun fact: The store produces about 200 pounds of soap a week. It sells about 100 varieties. "It's a dirty business, but somebody's got to do it," owner Chris Clarke said with a laugh.
Utz Quality Foods Inc., 900 High St., Hanover
Fun fact: Through carton consolidation efforts, Utz uses 4,200 fewer trees each year by using fewer cartons. This increases the number of chip bags per case, which leads to fewer cases per truck and fewer miles traveled by the Utz fleet.
Wolfgang Candy Co., 50 E. Fourth St., North York
Fun fact: In April, the company announced that its seasonal Wolfgang Chocolate Lager was on tap at Mudhook Brewing Company in York. It was available for a few weeks this spring.
York County Solid Waste Authority/Resource Recovery Center, 2651 Blackbridge Road, Manchester Township
Fun fact: York County's recycling rate based on 2010 data is 33.5 percent. The recycling rate is the percentage of the total municipal waste stream diverted from disposal. York County's rate includes recyclables collected from municipal and commercial programs, yard waste, and York County Resource Recovery Center byproducts. The national average recycling rate determined by the Environmental Protection Agency is 33.8 percent.
York Wallcoverings Home Design Center, 201 Carlisle Ave., York
Fun fact: York Wallcoverings' Ashford House wallpaper was used in the "Tea Leaves" episode of "Mad Men," which aired April 8 on AMC. You can see it in the bathroom of Betty and Henry Fancis' new mansion.
Sources: www.snydersofhanover.com, www.yorkwall.com; www.yorkpa.org; www.utzsnacks.com; www.wolfgangcandy.com; www.ycswa.com