The owners of Plain Ol’ Pumpkins in Clear Lake are hoping for good weather and good health this fall.
Andy and Jamie Meyer have been busy in the off-season readying their pumpkin patch for its second season — and its first amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re ready,” Andy said. “We’re definitely ready for people to come.”
The pumpkin patch, 4333 260th St., will open Saturday, Sept. 26, with more pumpkins, more activities and more outdoor family fun than its first year.
Plain Ol’ Pumpkins is the culmination of the Meyers’ love for aviation, agriculture and outdoor family fun.
The family originally purchased the more than 7 acres north of U.S. Highway 18 in 2018 to build a grass runway and airplane hangar, but when they noticed there would be some unused space on the property, they decided to plant pumpkins — 3 acres of pumpkins.
Then came ideas about adding a corn maze, grain truck slide, corn box, hay mountain, hayrack rides, apple sling shots and more.
Plain Ol’ Pumpkins had a good first season despite horrible weather, Andy said.
“We learned a lot and we hope people come back and see the improvements,” he said.
The couple and their children Addison, 8; Teagen, 6; and Easton, 2; have spent the past year working on how they could improve and expand the offerings at Plain Ol’ Pumpkins.
Their pumpkin patch will again boast thousands of pumpkins and gourds of different shapes, sizes and colors.
It will also offer s’mores kits to enjoy at a campfire, picnic areas and photo opportunities.
“We’ll have everything we had last year and then some,” Andy said.
New this year, the pumpkin patch will have a Snoopy-themed corn maze, wagon ball and a pedal-tractor course.
The hayrack ride will be longer, and the corn box will be larger, Andy said, adding his family wanted to provide plenty of activities for all ages to enjoy.
The activities will be positioned around the grass runway and the hangar.
This year will mark the first season that pumpkin patch patrons will have access to the hangar, which was started last year but wasn’t completed until this year due to weather.
The hangar has a family restroom, concession stand, vendors and more.
Vendors selling crafts, apples and honey will be on-site this fall, Andy said.
The hangar also allows Plain Ol’ Pumpkins to host children’s birthday parties, which is something the Meyers received inquiries about last year.
The Meyers expect the corn maze and wagon ball to be big draws this year and they have already received significant social media attention ahead of its opening, Andy said.
In August, Plain Ol’ Pumpkins shared the story about how it designed its Snoopy-themed corn maze the “old-fashioned way,” without a modern-day corn planter controlled by a GPS, on Facebook and the post received more than 25,000 views.
Then, a couple weeks later, the family shared images of wagon ball — a new free-throw competition made with some of its old grain equipment — and after garnering the attention of several national agriculture organizations, the post had been shared more than 4,000 times and had been seen by more than a million people, he said.
Andy said Plain Ol’ Pumpkins has been receiving phone calls and messages from across the country ever since.
“It’s so wild,” he said. “We’ve been delighted that it’s had that kind of activity.”
Andy, a principal at Bergland & Cram, and Jamie, a teacher at Mason City Schools, have enjoyed creating the pumpkin patch with their children and look forward to sharing it with other families this fall.
“Last year when we started the business, our motto was ‘The pumpkin brings you out, the experience brings you back,’ so every year we want to keep building that experience,” he said.
Plain Ol’ Pumpkins will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays until Oct. 31. Admission, including all the activities, is $7 per person or free for children 2 and younger.
For more information or weather-related announcements, visit the Plain Ol’ Pumpkins Facebook page.
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Ashley Stewart covers Clear Lake and arts and entertainment in North Iowa for the Globe Gazette. You can reach her at email@example.com or by phone at 641-421-0533. Follow Ashley on Twitter at GGastewart.
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