After 98 years, the Pennsylvania Farm Show still brings in crowds.
After 98 years, the Pennsylvania Farm Show still brings in crowds. (Bil Bowden)

The agricultural community will have its celebration next year with rabbit hopping competition, Christmas tree displays and the tastes of locally-grown food.

The 98th Pennsylvania Farm Show will run Saturday, Jan. 4 to Saturday, Jan. 11 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, 2300 N. Cameron St. in Harrisburg.

The eight-day show will feature 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors. The event theme is "Pennsylvania Farms: Growing for You," said Nicole Bucher, the farm show's spokeswoman.

"The Pennsylvania Farm Show really is a celebration of agriculture," she said. "It's a great place to show the good work of men and women who make sure we have food to eat, clothes to wear and fuel to use. They're the people who are driving the Pennsylvania economy."

Event details: Before its January 4 start, the farm show will hold some pre-celebration events, including at the unveiling of a 1,000-pound butter sculpture at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, and a free country music concert by Camp Hill native Ben Gallaher at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show will hold its "Parade of Agriculture" at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, in the complex's Large Arena

The farm show hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 4 to Jan. 10 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 11. Admission is free, though parking is $10.

Besides is various food and animal competitions, the farm show will have its familiar crowd-pleasing offerings, including Cow Patty Bingo, Celebrity Cow Milking Contest and Great Grape Stomp.

The Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Farm Show milkshake at the food court which will feature new items, including maple mustard, berry funnel cake and hot beef sausage.

Something different: Also new is the Rabbit Hopping Competition at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, in the complex's Small Arena area, where the trained rabbits will show their speed and agility while hopping obstacles.

The competition idea came from a similar contest held at the farm show complex earlier this year by the National Rabbit Breeders Association, she said.

"It's like an equine competition, but the jumps are quite a bit smaller," Bucher said. "We think it will be really fun and people will enjoy it."

This year, the farm show also will have its "Christmas in January" display in the complex's Main Hall, rather than the McClay Street Lobby, so the public can see the trees in a bigger areas, she said.

"The trees won't be decorated," Bucher said. "They will be judged on how beautiful and sound of a tree they are."

Last year, 585,000 people attended the farm show, she said.

"We have 62,000 farm families, so most of the people who come to the show don't actually live on farms and some come from other states," Bucher said. "The Pennsylvania Farm Show is a great fun and educational multi-generational family event."

--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.