By Jann Wiswall
With the unmistakable scent of fall in the air, folks around these parts know that in just about two weeks, a normally quiet farm on Sugartown Rd. in nearby Great Valley magically becomes a six-week long celebration of the pumpkin and everything else that ripens in autumn.
Pumpkinville is a one-of-a-kind destination for the entire family. Owners Dan and Diane Pawlowski work year-round planning and preparing for this annual festival. And everything – from the pumpkins to the games to the mouthwatering treats – comes directly from the family’s instinctive understanding of what it means to have fun.
While in festival-mode from September 12 through October 31, 25 acres are turned into a combination fairground/farm market/feasting venue for kids and grown-ups of all ages.
There are dozens of free games and activities, including a Singing Chicken Show, Perky the Talking Pumpkin, Farm Animals, Corn TeePee, Storyland, Kiddie Spookum Barn, a Train Play Area and more. There’s also a brand new feature this year: “Punchin’ Pumpkins Race.” This creative race involves navigating through a maze, stopping at four spots to punch a pumpkin and then racing for the finish line. The race is timed, and you can compete with friends, family or vie for your own personal best.
With the purchase of an activity wristband ($11 Mon.-Thurs.; $12.50 Fri.-Sat.), you can also spend as long as you want on the Pumpkin Jumpin’ Pillows, driving Farm Pedal Carts, taking a country hayride, riding on the Cow Train or getting lost in a six-acre Mix 96 Corn Maze that, from above, looks like a carving of the Mix 96 radio station’s logo (see photo, page x). Individual activities are $3.75 ea.
On weekends only (and weather permitting), you can also take a helicopter ride to get the bird’s eye view of the area’s gorgeous fall colors (add’l fee).
Of course, as the name might suggest, the place has a vast array of pumpkins – from mini to enormous – to take home for cooking and carving, or you can pick your own. There’s a bountiful produce barn with a huge selection of apples, squashes and other veggies, plus Indian corn and gourds for seasonal decorating. Crafts and gift shops feature homemade fudge and caramel, pumpkin, almond and peanut butters and maple products from Moore’s Maple.
And then there’s food – a mouthwatering array of all of delicious, tummy-tempting favorites that will draw you back for more throughout the season.
Head on over to the picnic tables, mark your spot, and then grab a delicious lunch, dinner or a snack from the Pumpkinville Grill, where you’ll find hot dogs, chili, sausage, beef on Weck, pumpkin soup, kettle corn, curly fries and more. There’s also a Chicken BBQ on weekends.
But save room for dessert, because you won’t be able to resist.
There are freshly baked pumpkin doughnuts and pumpkin pies. There’s homemade pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup and pumpkin fudge. There are apple choices galore, too, from apple slices drizzled with homemade caramel sauce to apple pies and freshly pressed cider.
There’s something for everyone at Pumpkinville. Make sure to visit any day, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. between September 12 and October 31. Visit www.pumpkinville.com.
Job seekers: Pumpkinville is hiring for the season. Please stop by in person this Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28-29, to pick up an application at 4844 Sugartown Road, Great Valley, NY 14731.