HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Although it's prime weather for ice carving, a half-ton sculpture made of butter is a star attraction as the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show opens in Harrisburg.

The show's traditional butter sculpture this year depicts dancing cows and a family sipping milkshakes.

More than a half-million people are expected to attend the free event over the next eight days.

They can watch square dancing or rodeos, see some of the 6,000 animals on display, or find out who wins the ribbon for best pie.

State officials said that Pennsylvanians depend on farm families to provide jobs, food and a sense of community.

"The farm show is a celebration of a way of life here in the commonwealth," said Gov. Tom Corbett, who attended with his wife, first lady Susan Corbett. "Every Pennsylvanian depends on our 62,000 farm families, and they deserve our heartfelt thanks."

The show is held each year at the 24-acre Farm Show Complex on the outskirts of Harrisburg, and calls itself the nation's largest indoor agricultural event.

It has been held every year since 1917, although officials say its roots reach back to agriculture shows in colonial Philadelphia.

New Year's dieters, beware.

The food court this year offers milkshakes and fried mozzarella from the Pa. Dairymen's Association; baked spuds from the Pa. Cooperative Potato Growers; chicken corn soup from the Pa. Vegetable Growers Association; and sweet apple cider from the State Horticultural Association, according to the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.

And Sunday's schedule offers a new twist on the bunny hop: a rabbit-hopping contest, featuring trained rabbits jumping their way through an obstacle course.

About 585,000 people attended last year, and officials expect at least as many, or more, in 2014.