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Pumpkinville Opens Sept. 15 Animatronic Chickens, Pumpkins, Cider, Corn Cannon, Hay Rides and More

by Jeff Cole

The conclusion of summer means the beginning of fall.

And the beginning of fall means the return of football season, apple cider, multi-colored leaves and the popular premier pumpkin-picking place known to many visitors far and wide, young and old: Pumpkinville.

This year, Pumpkinville, which is one of Cattaraugus County’s largest attractions and is located at 4844 Sugartown Rd. in Great Valley, will open up its pumpkin patches to the public from Sept. 15 through Oct. 31, from 9 a.m.–7 p.m. every day. Admission is free.

New to Pumpkinville this year is the Hen House Five Review, described in a press release as a “friendly flock of animatronic chickens” that will “entertain you with their singing and even tell some jokes.” The attraction also added a kettle corn operation, a number of new displays and upgraded the corn maze and hay rides.

Returning favorites are the annual hayrides that travel around the farm and into the woods, the six-acre corn maze, the Cow Train, helicopter rides on weekends in October, the Corn Cannon, pony rides, Goat Mountain and Storyland. Some of these attractions have a minimal fee.

Of course, other common staples of Pumpkinville are pumpkins and a wide variety of flavorful foods. Visitors will be able to select the pumpkin that’s right for them while enjoying goodies from the Pumpkinville Grill, the Ice Cream Factory and Di’s Pies and Bake Shoppe, such as chicken barbecue, homemade fudge, caramel apples and old-fashioned kettle corn.

Those who enjoy finding out how things are made can watch pumpkin doughnuts being created and take home a dozen or two. Those with a sweet tooth can also select a pumpkin pie, an apple pie, cookies, bread and a number of other of other treats.

One of the first events of the season is the Apple Cider Festival, which will run from Sept. 22-23. The festival will feature entertainment each day from 1-5 p.m. and festivalgoers will be able to witness apple cider pressing and a 120-year-old cider mill in use. Fall Festival Weekend, which will be Oct. 6-8, will feature a variety of festivities every day.

Dan Pawlowski, who has owned and operated Pumpkinville with his family since 1996, said that he and his family have been working all year to get the attraction ready for this season.

“We’ve been working hard since New Year’s (Day), unlike our hired help. I mean we had a lot of help hired through this summer, through maintenance, painting and mechanical and carpentry work and that sort of thing, but pretty much we just started today (Sept. 4) getting the place set up and getting it together and that sort of thing. We’ll work this week getting everything set up. Then next week, we’ll start picking all the crop and getting it ready and getting all of the buildings ready and getting some bacon going, and making some ice cream and some cider and all that sort of thing,” he said.

The Pawlowskis took over Pumpkinville after its original owners, Joe and Helen Halloran, retired after having operated the attraction since the late 1960s. They moved it about a mile up the road along Route 98 to a bigger area.

The attraction also boasts almost 100 employees who work on making Pumpkinville happen, in addition to the six Pawlowski family members who do the same. Even more impressive than the number of workers is the number of visitors to Pumpkinville every year, which sometimes pushes 100,000, including people from northern Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada.

Pawlowski said that he had planted about 27.5 acres of pumpkins this year.

“We’ve got a wonderful variety of colors of pumpkins that you’re not going to find sitting by the road anywhere. We’ve got everything from blues to pinks to green-striped. We have got a lot of white pumpkins. We’ve got a lot of yellow- and green-striped (pumpkins). If you want a unique variety, we’ve got that,” he said.

Though some might understandably think that the pumpkins make the attraction so special, it’s the people, Pawlowski said, who are so crucial to making Pumpkinville what it is.

“The crowd brings on a festival atmosphere. You never know who or what is walking through that gate. It’s really the coolest thing going,” he said.

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