Chocolate or vanilla?

It's one of the most important choices made every year at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Long lines snake through the food court of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg as customers line up to buy one of the most famous offerings at the state's annual display of agriculture: the Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association milkshakes.

Volunteers: Because they're so delicious, Janet Eppley has worked the booth since 1954.

The 83-year-old Lewisberry resident said the chocolate flavor is why she's volunteered for the majority of the last 60 years.

Janet Eppley, 83, of Fairview Township shows off a souvenir cup Wednesday that will be offered during this year’s Pennsylvania Dairymen’s
Janet Eppley, 83, of Fairview Township shows off a souvenir cup Wednesday that will be offered during this year's Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association milkshake sale at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Janet, a Valley Grange No. 1368 of Lewisberry member, has been staffing the milkshake booth since 1954. (BILL KALINA —

Eppley took some time off years ago while she was raising three children, but a simple perk inspired her to help again.

"I get a free milkshake," she said, laughing at her answer.

She also likes meeting new people -- especially when they say the milkshakes are the best drink at the show.

Helping others: As a member of Valley Grange No. 1360 in Lewisberry, which partners with the Dairymen's Association every year, Eppley said the milkshakes ultimately benefit York County.

"It's our big money-making thing of the year, and we do good for the community with the money we make," she said of the Grange fundraiser.

For example, the Grange adopts a local family every year for Christmas, buying and wrapping gifts for each family member, said Fae Snyder, an 81-year-old Grange member and Camp Hill resident.

Snyder has served milkshakes at the farm show every year since 1954.

"The milkshakes are very popular, and you meet people over the years who keep coming back," she said.

Most people buy chocolate, but Snyder's favorite is a twist -- the sweet combination of both chocolate and vanilla.

Pa. dairy: Both flavors are made from a mix of real ice cream and milk and showcase the best of Pennsylvania dairy, she said.

"When people try it they always say it was worth the wait in line," Snyder said.

The longest lines form during lunch and dinner, Eppley said.

That's also when most parents are asking for extra cups so they can give their kids a sample, she said.

"A child can't drink the whole thing. It's probably the most-shared drink at the farm show," Eppley said.

It's so popular, an additional milkshake booth has been added in the Farm Show Complex annex on Maclay Street.

"There are people who go to the farm show just to get a milkshake," she said.

--Reach Candy Woodall at