Autumn is a great time to visit a farm. What would Halloween and Thanksgiving be without agriculture? As the leaves change color and the air starts to cool, fall brings corn mazes, u-pick pumpkin patches and harvest festivals all around the globe.
There are plenty of farms and festivals to visit during this colorful time of year to find that perfect carving pumpkin. Most farms and farm trails open their u-pick pumpkin patches in September and remain open through the end of October. There are also a number of pumpkin and harvest festivals in October. Most farms not only feature pumpkins, but hayrides, farm animals, corn mazes, gift shops, and even cooking classes.
If you are looking for individual pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hayrides, or other harvest festivals, check out this site, which features listings by state and several countries including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
There are also plenty of pumpkin festivals and weigh-offs to choose from this time of year. One of the longest running and best known of these is the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay, California. The 39th Annual event takes place October 17 and 18 and features several farm pumpkin patches, pumpkin carving, the Great Pumpkin Parade, haunted house, pie-eating, carving and costume contests, all kicked off with the champion pumpkin weigh-off. Last year’s winning pumpkin topped over, 1,500 pounds.
One of the most entertaining pumpkin events is Delaware’s World Championship Punkin Chunkin Contest, to be held November 6, 7, and 8. This event has grown to include over 70 teams all competing to see who can “chuck” or throw their pumpkin the farthest. There are also other contests during the three-day event including a pumpkin cooking contest and chili cook-off.
To find a pumpkin festival or weigh-off near you, check out Pumpkin Nook’s site for listings across the United States, Canada, and Europe.
And, to find statewide pumpkin festivals, check out this site.
Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.