Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch: Rotary preparing for annual celebration
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: September 18, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
With high temperatures gradually cooling and the sun setting earlier, can the annual Pumpkin Patch at Faulkner Farm be far behind?
The Rotary of Santa Paula-sponsored event is in conjunction with UC Hansen Trust, which now owns the historic Faulkner Farm located at the corner of Telegraph and Briggs roads. The Patch will be held each Saturday and Sunday in October on the 5-6, 12-13, 19-20 and 26-27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The nonprofit Pumpkin Patch charges only $5 per person for a day full of family fun, where special activities and something to eat or drink can be had at an added cost. Included in the admission are free hayrides, the Hay Pyramid, Red Corn and Hay mazes and musical entertainment.
For a small added cost the family can enjoy the mini-train ride, pony rides, face painting, farm animal interactive experiences and the famed Pumpkin Patch Pumpkin Chucker. “We’re getting all geared up,” said Rotarian Ginger Gherardi, who noted although there will be some changes at the annual event the fun factor will remain the same.
“The Petting Zoo is being moved back further and the agriculture exhibits we had in the tent are going to be upstairs in the big barn,” a building that along with the famed Faulkner Farm home is a landmark. The large red barn can be seen from Highway 126 and Telegraph Road and Gherardi said Rotarians found that the space was perfect for the ag displays provided by the cattlemen, Limoneira Company and Calavo among others.
“It’s not where it can be windy and they’re blown down or rained on, there’s a really wide staircase inside the barn and a huge space.... We had no idea it was there!”
Most of the vendors will remain the same, but “The Odd Fellows will be selling funnel cakes, something we haven’t had out there in a few years” and always a crowd favorite. Other delicious treats will make sure your little pumpkins don’t go away hungry: tri-tip and country chicken sandwiches, kettle corn, fish tacos, burritos, beef jerky, whole pumpkin and apple pies and slices, baked goods, ice cream and shaved ice, and of course cotton candy, churros, soft drinks and fresh brewed coffee as well as beer and wine.
Gherardi said the popular Channel Islands Gourd Society, geode experts, and the Country Store with its unique gifts and holiday items will be back, as will Master Gardeners ready to offer gardening tips and produce and flowers grown onsite for sale.
The Patch also offers endless possibilities and opportunities for photos, with posing stations and backdrops and acres of pumpkins and other produce with magnificent South Mountain in the background. “There’s photo and video opportunities all over the place,” said Gherardi. In fact, the picture perfect venue prompted the Rotary Club to launch an annual photography and video contest.
In spite of the hard work - hundreds of hours given by an army of volunteers - Gherardi and Rotarians are looking forward to the Pumpkin Patch and the support it provides many community organizations. The club distributes the proceeds of the Patch to the organizations who help out and through a formal grant process for other worthwhile purposes.
And its own: the Rotary Club is also involved with a number of other ongoing projects including scholarships, Junior Achievement, Christmas Baskets (about 500 for local needy families each year!), Christmas Stockings for residents of convalescent homes, plus other activities related to financial support of healthcare, youth organizations, art, and international projects.
“What do I like best about the Pumpkin Patch? I personally think that for people looking for family fun it’s a good outing... some come to the Patch for the food, some for the music and some people use the Patch to kick off the holidays. We’ve heard some families use the Patch to kick off the season, pumpkins, Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
No matter what the reason people visit the celebration, Gherardi said they all have one thing in common: “Everyone always has a smile at the Pumpkin Patch!”
For more information visit the Facebook page Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch or the website: www.faulknerfarmpumpkinpatch.com/index.html.