2010 Farm Show Was One of Best on Record

Jan 29, 2010, 15:26 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Parking, Shuttle Ridership and Food Sales Grew This Year

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly half a million visitors experienced the best of Pennsylvania's agriculture industry at the 2010 Farm Show, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said today, noting that a final tally of parking and sales figures showed increased traffic and food sales.

"The 94th Pennsylvania Farm Show was a huge success," said Redding. "For eight days we were able to put agriculture front and center for hundreds of thousands of people—or, as many people commented, what was a record crowd. That experience helped them better understand the role the industry plays in our state's proud past, present and future.

"It was great to see so many visitors come to Harrisburg to enjoy the diversity of Pennsylvania agriculture and this unique event."

According to the department, the number of vehicles parked at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center and its satellite lots this year was the second-highest on record, and represented an increase of nearly 5,000 vehicles as compared to 2009.

The food court, a crowd favorite that features a wide variety of culinary delights, saw sales rise 15 percent over last year. With commodity groups that produce and sell their own products, the food court is regarded as an intersection of the state's 12.5 million consumers and 63,000 farmers.

The Food Court Shuttle, which takes riders from downtown Harrisburg and other satellite lots to the complex, also recorded an increase in ridership of nearly 17 percent, which helped to bolster sales.

In addition to the more than 400,000 two-legged visitors estimated to have visited the show, the Farm Show hosted 6,000 animals and 10,000 competitive exhibits. This year's exhibits increased in several areas including entries in the Pennsylvania wine competition and the Family and Consumer Living department.

The FFA exhibit competition—Keeping PA Growing: Open for Business—highlighted Pennsylvania's robust food sector. Eight high school FFA chapters partnered with food processing companies to design life-sized exhibits to showcase locally produced foods and educate visitors about food production and manufacturing processes.

"The Pennsylvania Farm Show represents a microcosm of Pennsylvania society. We have visitors from across the state with varying connections to the agriculture industry, but we all have one thing in common: we like to eat," Redding said.

"Thanks to the many producers, volunteers, staff and our partners from Penn State University's Cooperative Extension and Outreach, we were able to help Farm Show visitors – producers and consumers alike - understand they are a valued part of Pennsylvania agriculture."

To read about show highlights, including contest winners and photos, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us and click on 'Media' and 'Photos.'  

Media contact: Jean Kummer, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture