As my husband and I loaded the last box of Christmas decor into the attic this week, he paused to ask me a question. “What’s next?”

I thought about it for a minute. And then I remembered that the Pennsylvania Farm Show starts Saturday in Harrisburg, and as long as the weather is OK to make the trip south on Interstate 81, it’s the perfect place to spend the day as a family. I’m eager to go on a road trip, so I’m hoping we can visit again. The show runs from Saturday until the following Saturday, Jan. 11. Access NEPA has a great guide for the show, available here. Admission is free, and parking is $15 per car.

Here’s my take:

  • Be prepared for a long day. You have to park away from the farm show complex and take a shuttle to the show entrance. If you have little kids, make sure you take the smallest stroller you have (crowds can be crazy and getting a large stroller on a shuttle is difficult). Grab enough diapers and other supplies from your car to last you the full day.
  • Arrive hungry. The food court at the market is outstanding, offering great options for even the pickiest of eaters. We often get several different sandwiches or snacks and split them. Make sure you get a milkshake too.
  • Take time to learn about Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. My kids don’t get to spend a lot of time near farms, and I want them to meet farmers and learn about how food is grown and harvested. A lot of booths have kid-friendly activities or hand-outs. There’s even a merry-go-round in the Main Hall. Check out the butter sculpture too.
  • Shop at the PA Preferred Marketplace for some delicious Pennsylvania-made products to take home. There are free samples, so prepare for large crowds. When my oldest daughter was 1 or 2 years old, she yelled “beep beep” through most of the marketplace. (Yes, the crowds can be that crazy.)
  • Catch a special event, including rabbit hopping or tractor square dancing.
  • Talk to the exhibitors. The people at the farm show care greatly about what they do and the animals they raise. While you’re walking through the livestock hall, feel free to ask questions and learn more.
  • If it’s possible, try to visit the farm show on a weekday. Weekends are crazy, but it’s worth it