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Fall activities starting up soon

Although you wouldn’t know it by the warm weather, fall is right around the corner and local farms are getting ready for visitors.

Sweetapple Farm in Vincent opens at 11 a.m. Saturday, although their spooky hayrides aren’t open until Oct. 4.

This is the 20th year for the farm to be open in the fall, said owner Mona Barrett.

“There’s a lot of family fun out there,” she said.

One of the more popular activities at her farm is the corn maze, which has a different theme each year. This year’s theme is “Little Boy Blue” and the maze features three games.

“One is ‘Who Stole the Hen’s Eggs,’ one has 12 questions and one has 32 questions,” Barrett said. “You can go as a group or a family.”

She said there are signs with information teaching about the farm, the sheep and the hay, along with information on Little Boy Blue throughout the maze.

The nursery rhyme tells of a little boy who is supposed to watch the sheep and cows to keep them out of trouble. Instead, the boy fell asleep under a haystack and the cows got into the corn.

“They needed the corn to feed the animals in the winter and cornmeal to feed themselves,” Barrett explained.

The farm is open for visitors on the weekends, but during the week, schools are able to bring their students for tours.

Barrett said they learn about the farm and they’re able to go through the corn maze, with signs telling them which way to turn.

After dark on Fridays and Saturdays in October will be the flashlight maze, along with child-friendly spooky hayrides.

Farm visitors will also be able to pick their own pumpkins, and kids can visit their nursery rhyme garden or herb garden.

“There’s a big bird’s nest the kids can get inside,” Barrett said. “We have our animals, ducks, chickens, goats, and our hayride goes up in the pasture on the hill and you’ll see the cows out grazing.”

She said the hayrides are narrated and the whole idea is “education to let people who aren’t farm people learn about a farm.”

Visitors can paint pumpkins, make scarecrows or pick a pumpkin that has enough to make a pie.

“For the little ones we have a hay maze, Kestermeier cattle barn and several places around to take group pictures because a lot of families come out,” Barrett added.

The farm is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Their daytime hayrides and flashlight maze are $4 per person, while their spooky hayrides are $5 per person.

In another part of the county is the Stacy Family Farm in Reno.

Owners Bill and Janet Stacy are bringing their son, Todd, to the forefront of the farm, as he’s the fifth generation of Stacy family to work there.

Their farm doesn’t feature pick your own pumpkins for a good reason.

“You don’t go to the field to pick them, because they are grown in Oak Grove, and the farm’s in Reno,” Janet said.

As this farm is a family affair, most of their fall activities are family-oriented.

“We have a small corn maze, hay rides and a play area,” Stacy said. “The play area is a combine with a slide, a fire truck with a slide and other small things.”

She said there are picnic tables where parents can sit and watch their children play.

“We have a lot of family games like Tic-Tac-Toe and checkers,” Stacy added.

She said they try to keep their activities reasonably priced, with a cost of $5 per person.

“We’re open weekends in October from noon to 5 p.m. and we want it to be a family atmosphere,” she said. “Our goal is to attract younger kids. You hope they learn something, give them a little bit of education.”

She said they are scheduling now for fall field trips for local school children.

“With the field trips, they are second grade and down,” Stacy said. “They are a little more relaxed and fun than the field trips in the spring. They paint pumpkins, learn about corn and the history of the farm.”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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