HARRISBURG – Icy temperatures were largely blamed for a dip in attendance at this year’s Pennsylvania Farm Show, which closed Saturday, but the many thousands of hardy souls who made the trip enjoyed the annual celebration of farm life and certainly didn’t go away hungry.
In the ever-popular food court, visitors bought more than 275,000 doughnuts, nearly 40,000 servings of French fries and 27,000 baked potatoes during the eight-day show, according to organizers of what is billed as the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event..
The Pennsylvania Livestock Association sold more than 10,000 roast-beef sandwiches and 13,000 sausages, while Penn Ag Industries sold more than five tons of pulled pork, 60,000 chicken nuggets, 10,000 fish sandwiches and 6,000 whoopie pies.
Overall attendance at the 98th annual show was about 17 percent lower than the record 585,000 estimated to have attended last year’s show, said spokeswoman Nicole Bucher.
Bucher speculated that this week’s unusually harsh cold spell likely discouraged many prospective visitors. She cited an uptick in the daily census of parked cars since temperatures began to warm Thursday as evidence that weather is always an important factor.
“Today is totally packed,” she said.
Closing day events included an apple action, at which thousands of apples displayed at the show are sold, usually at bargain prices.
Julie Bancroft of the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Program told the York Daily Record/York Sunday News the event typically draw crowds.
“It’s extremely popular,” she said. “They’re show-winning apples.”
Horse lovers also were not disappointed. Saturday’s events featured an equine showcase and a farm class horse-pulling contest.