Check out these must-see attractions for foodies, families, history lovers and more.
Walking into the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center for the first time can be an overwhelming experience.
With close to 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors spread throughout 11 buildings, there’s a lot to see and do.
In honor of its 100th anniversary, the Pennsylvania Farm Show has added even more new attractions this year, including new foods, history exhibits, animal competitions and more.
Here are nine new, must-see attractions for foodies, families, history lovers and more.
Milkshakes: You can’t go to the Pennsylvania Farm Show without getting the famous Farm Show milkshake. The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association has been selling these shakes in two flavors – vanilla and chocolate – for more than 60 years. But to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Farm Show, they’ve cooked up a new flavor, which will be revealed at the opening of the food court at noon Jan. 8.
Food court specialties: Other new foods to try include the blended mushroom burger from the American Mushroom Institute; carrot cake funnel cake from the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers; walking goat meat tacos and ribs from the Pennsylvania Livestock Association; a BBQ beef bowl from the Pennsylvania Cattlemen’s Association; and chocolate-covered bacon, chicken bites, fish sliders, fish nachos, oversized cookies and breakfast pretzel rolls from the PennAg Industries Association.
Meet a ‘Food Network’ star: The PA Preferred Culinary Connection Stage is always a popular spot to visit, especially now that Gina Neely from Food Network’s “Down Home with the Neelys” and “Road Tasted” is scheduled to make an appearance. The stage features cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs, local restaurants, cookbook authors and culinary schools throughout the week. Neely’s demonstration is scheduled for “mushroom day” at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9. Other culinary themes include vegetables, Weis, pork, beef and veal, apples, potatoes and dairy.
>> Also at the Culinary Connection Stage will be a Berkey Creamery Ice Cream Scoop-Off and a chance to sample the new Birthday Bash ice cream flavor at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16.
Become an AgExplorer: This year’s learning stations have been redesigned for the 100th anniversary and are great for the whole family. Together, you’ll learn about Pennsylvania agriculture through fun, interactive and hands-on activities.
Make it and take it: Rather than browsing all of the exhibits up for judging, children have a chance to create their own works at Make It and Take It. A new craft, from bookmarks to birdhouses, will be featured from noon to 2 p.m. on weekdays.
For Pennsylvania history lovers
100 years of the Farm Show: Take a walk through history to discover the growth and evolution of the Farm Show over the last 100 years. The exhibit, located on the walls of the complex, will also take a look at the role agriculture has played throughout Pennsylvania’s history.
100 years of agriculture: See 100 years of innovation, change, progress and productivity as this exhibit highlights the progression from plows to GPS technology and from horses to steam engines and tractors. The exhibit opens at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Butter sculpture: A thousand pounds of butter sculpted into a life-size display – now, that’s something you have to see. Jim Victor, of Conshohocken, creates the sculpture with a different theme every year. Last year’s theme was “Fill a Glass With Hope.” This year’s will be unveiled at 11 a.m. Jan. 7.
Animal competitions: If 6,000 animals weren’t enough to get you excited, the Farm Show has added even more competitions to celebrate its 100th year. In addition to the crowd favorite rabbit-hopping and horse-pulling contests, alpacas will make their way into the show ring this year along with two additional breeds of swine and seven additional breeds of rabbits. Dairy goats will also have the opportunity to compete in more competitions.
If you go
What: 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show
When: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 9-15 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 16
Where: Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, 2300 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg
Parking: $15 at all Farm Show-operated lots. Parking is available on-site, at the intersection of Elmerton Avenue and Sycamore Street and at Harrisburg Area Community College on Wildwood Park Drive.
Best time to arrive: Between 9 a.m. and noon
Busiest time: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
For more information: Visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us.