Santa Paula Times

The Sunflower Forest is in full bloom at the Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch. If the kids like to have some fun, they should try their hand at the Sunflower Forest Maze. Photo by Don Johnson

Rotary Pumpkin Patch, the place to bring your little pumpkin

October 17, 2007
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThe Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch & Harvest Festival is packing ‘em in, with the revised event a hit with the thousands of visitors who have flocked to the farm for a day of fun as well as for the sponsoring Rotary Club of Santa Paula.The all-volunteer effort started with both a bang and a “b-a-a-a-a” when on the October 6 opening day a sheep escaped from the Petting Zoo and was wrestled to the ground by Rotarian Mike Jump. “He’s our sheep wrangler,” noted Rotarian Dennis Culver.“It was like a Benny Hill routine,” said Jump. Indeed, the Pumpkin Patch is filled with unique entertainment that drew more thousands of people opening weekend, “Good news,” according to Rotarian Scott Dunbar.Volunteer Jim Anderson was stationed just inside the entrance doing his duty of taking “tickets, hand-stamping and security.”Soroptimist International of Santa Paula President Donna Stewart said that the professional women’s organization had thought that 18 pies would satisfy every craving of the opening day crowd, but “We sold out” rapidly at the booth, also offering coffee, cookies, apple cider and iced tea.Past Rotary President Bruce McGee said that the crowd on the opening day of the Pumpkin Patch “exceeded what the former operators told us to expect... and we’re getting people from all over” Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, who found the attraction on the Internet.“We were so excited to see that the Pumpkin Patch had started back up,” said Cindy Teller of San Diego, who was accompanied by her husband Don and three children. “We make a weekend of it.”
“It’s a great community event that has been going great,” said Co-Chair Sheila Tate. “Kids are having a lot of fun and everybody is happy. People are really pleased to see it open again, have said they missed it.”“I think people have been waiting” for the return of the Pumpkin Patch, said Co-Chair Otto Schimmel. “We’ve seen lots of smiling faces, and people said they’re going to come back again as the admission is only $2. Everything has gone off without any major glitches.”The Buckaroo Train, hayride, musical entertainment and petting zoo were all hits with everyone, including Steve Colvard, who noted that it was a “neat effort” by the Rotary Club to “to get this up and running again,” including a special Pamela’s gift shop inside the imposing red barn.Wagon Wheel Bakery was offering pumpkin loaf mix kits as well as ready to eat loaves, and 12-year-old Isbell Middle School 8th grade student Jasmine Cardenas was helping Rotarian Nils Rueckert sell ice cream to the crowd, in spite of her recently soccer-sprained ankle that required a brace. A member of the Junior Condor Cancer Crushers - a Relay for Life team - Jasmine “has been a big help... Isbell students have been wonderful” helping out at the Pumpkin Patch, said Rueckert.The Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch also offers big pumpkins, little pumpkins, fat pumpkins, skinny pumpkins, Indian gourds, corn and cornstalks, and brightly colored and unusual varieties of squash for sale.A Ventura County tradition, the Pumpkin Patch was revised in cooperation with the Hansen Agricultural Trust, which now owns the sprawling property that contains the picturesque Queen Anne Faulkner House built in 1894 and located at the intersection of Briggs and Telegraph roads. The Pumpkin Patch will be opened throughout October on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.