Savannah Marie searches for the best restaurants, wildlife and attractions that Harrisburg has to offer.
The air is close and full of an intoxicating amount of excitement from the near half million visitors who swarm the halls of the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Every area, every room, is filled with vendors, animals and families. For many, it has been a tradition to crowd these halls every January. Nevertheless, for those like me, it’s the first time, and the thrill of being a part of a 98-year old tradition is intense. With so many things to see and do, it’s easy for a first-timer to get side-tracked. Here’s a list of five must-see attractions so you can optimize your visit and bear witness to the greatness that is the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
1. The Butter Sculpture
For all of you butter lovers out there, you have a duty to stop here. Additionally, for all of you that have seen the movie “Butter”, you can find the real thing at the Pennsylvania Farm Show! This year’s sculpture is made of nearly 1,000 pounds of butter and celebrates the 60th anniversary of the PA Dairymen’s Association milkshakes. Featuring a sock-hop with cows shaking to the tune, you’ll be wishing you were made of butter and soaking up the “udderly” delicious milkshakes they’re celebrating. The Reporter Online has a great video and article about the artist behind this year’s sculpture and the long process of building it.
2. PA Dairymen’s Association Milkshakes
The food at the Farm Show is unbelievable, but the one item that you have to get before exiting the complex is the PA Dairymen’s Association milkshake. Available in vanilla, chocolate, and a combo of the two, you will be in seventh heaven as you reach for this mouth-watering treat. Don’t let the long lines deter you; these guys are quick in getting your order together. Consider yourself warned, though: Everyone must have their own because you just won’t want to share. Well, I was in no mood for sharing!
3. The Slide of Ducklings
Among the nearly 6,000 animals that live at the Farm Show are these little fowl creatures — pun intended. The Slide of Ducklings is by far the most adorable attraction, and it’s just what it sounds like: a slide for ducklings. Watch baby ducks climb up and slide down as they try to get treats and splash in the water. There’s even a live stream of the slide for the moments that you don’t want to miss. The kids will love it and you will too.
4. Pennsylvania Wine Tastings
Thought only Napa was known for wine? Think again. Pennsylvania has its own rapidly increasing wine industry and here you’ll find just what it is that makes these wines so special. You’ll find everything from a deep, musky merlot to a luxuriously heated spiced wine that’s perfect for the cold season. Even the most refined wine drinker will find something of interest here. But tasters be warned: these wines are so good you’ll soon find yourself running down the road to the nearest alcohol detox facility.
5. The Rodeos
There are actually a couple of these happening throughout the Farm Show festivities. You’ll want to check out the Pennsylvania High School Rodeo Association Championship Rodeo. You will be amazed at what these young people can do, and you’ll be jealous that the last time you were on a horse was when you fell off and never got back on. Once you’ve seen what the amateurs can do, you’ll really be blown away by the professionals at the Circuit Finals Rodeo. Bring a camera and a towel; you’ll be sweating watching these pros battle it out with nature.
Among these five top selections are numerous others to enjoy. The Farm Show is host to over 10,000 exhibits, so being bored is simply not an acceptable option. Arrive early, wear comfortable shoes and experience a Pennsylvania that you never knew existed.