Pick a pumpkin, get lost in a corn maze

By Rosemary McCoy

It’s time to celebrate fall by getting out of the city and picking pumpkins.

The new owners of Riverview Christmas Tree Farm north of Canton found success last year with their first Pumpkin Festival, so they’re hosting the event this weekend and next.

And Cherry Rock Farms south of Brandon has opened its pick-your-own pumpkin patch and added a corn maze this year.

Riverview’s event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on both Sundays. Parking and admission are free. In addition to the pumpkins, there will be live music, food, a beer garden, crafts, inflatables, a kiddie train, petting zoo and games with pumpkins. Customers can take a hayride from the parking area to the lodge and from there to the pumpkin patch.

Todd Gannon, who owns the farm with his wife, Shari, said he estimates there are 10,000 pumpkins in the field along the Big Sioux River that customers can pick.

“It was a very good growing season,” said Gannon, who also coaches football at Canton High School. “You can’t tell what you have until the vines start dying.”

He planted almost two dozen varieties – from the typical orange to white, green, blue and ones with a metallic sheen. There are “warty” ones and sizes from mini to giant. Prices range from $2 for a mini to $15 for a giant white pumpkin.

Riverview has its own kitchen that serves burgers, brats and hotdogs, and that’s a cheaper option than using food trucks, Gannon said.

“We focus on keeping it very affordable for families,” he said. Customers can get a meal deal for $4, and most of the activities are free, except for the $2 train rides and $1 pumpkin slingshot.

The lodge features local crafts, and vendors will sell kettle corn and SDSU ice cream. festival-goers can drink Oktoberfest beers and South Dakota wines in the beer garden, which includes a TV for football-game watching.

Special events include a church service at 10 a.m. this Sunday and a concert with Tyler David from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 7.

Riverview, 48392 278th St., will host field trips throughout October, but otherwise it’s only open on the Pumpkin Festival weekends.

At Cherry Rock Farms, fourth-generation operators Marco and Laura Patzer decided to add a corn maze to give customers something else to do when they come out to pick pumpkins.

The maze is cut into a 3 ½-acre field along Highway 11 in a “geometric shape with nips and turns,” Laura Patzer said. “It takes about 20 minutes to go through it.”

Since it opened a week ago, “we’ve gotten lots of positive feedback,”Patzer said.

The cost is $3, and it’s free for anyone 3 or younger.

Its open during regular business hours, which are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

There are 18 varieties of pumpkins in the 4-acre patch, including the more unusual white, pink, blue and green ones. Prices start at $3, with the larger ones selling for $6 to $8, she said.

“Out in the patch, there are some giants that we’ll have to use a skid loader to haul up to the market.”

In addition to pumpkins, Cherry Rock, 48105 264th St., is fully stocked with vegetables. The only produce that’s done for the season is sweet corn, Patzer said.

There are still openings for field trips and corporate outings. In addition to the pumpkin patch and corn maze, those guests can take a hayride around the 186-acre farm, learning about planting, raising and harvesting produce.

The end to the season depends on the weather, “but we’re hoping to get as close up to Halloween as we can,” Patzer said.

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Pick a pumpkin, get lost in a corn maze

It’s time to celebrate fall by getting out of the city and picking pumpkins.

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