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Pumpkin Patching

A gourd-full of seasonal fun throughout October

Posted: October 15, 2009 11:17 a.m.
Updated: October 16, 2009 6:00 a.m.

Old time transportation at the Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch in Santa Paula. Picking out your pumpkins is just part of the fun at local pumpkin patches and those a little farther out of the SCV.

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If all you are looking for this Halloween is a drive-by pumpkin-picking, there are plenty of "patches" around town to accommodate you. But if you are looking for a seasonal "experience" the choices narrow rapidly. Yet, even with these pumpkin patches there is a wide variety of activities to select from.

You can go full-on with Lombardi Ranch, which literally becomes a Halloween playground this time of year, including a 5K race on Halloween. For one day the Heritage Haunt Pumpkin Festival offers something for everyone, including backstage looks at how a professional "haunt" is produced. You can take the PumpkinLiner train to its destination patch, or just hang out in seasonal atmosphere at Nancy's Ranch. We've added in a few other festivals and patches outside the SCV, but our list is by no means exhaustive.

It's time to get pumpkin patching.

Lombardi Ranch
29527 Bouquet Canyon Road
Saugus, CA 91390
(661) 296-8697
Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There is no doubt about it, the biggest thing in pumpkin-fun for miles around is Lombardi Ranch. The ranch has been selling pumpkins and other produce since 1968, but its Halloween Pumpkin Festival began in 1989. October weekends have evolved into something special, with bands, a petting zoo, bake sales, wagon rides, face painting, pony rides, train rides and lots of things to see and climb on.

Scarecrow Alley presents a wide trail winding through towering sunflowers. Around every turn are "scarecrows," interpretations of Halloween themes entered into the scarecrow contest by local individuals, families, school and scouting groups.

Visit the Web site for Saturday and Sunday activities through Oct. 31. But one of the highlight events is on Oct. 31, when the Santa Clarita Runners host their inaugural Monster Dash 5K Race/Walk and Kids K at Lombardi Ranch at 8 a.m. (Kids K starts at 7:45 a.m.) The entire course will be run at the ranch, climbing up Dead Man's Hill, then running down the pumpkin patch, through several corn and sunflower mazes and finishing through Scarecrow Alley. Runners are encouraged to dress in costume. Race proceeds will benefit the City of Hope. The 5K will be limited to 500 participants due to parking restrictions (carpooling is recommended). Call Carl Pantoja and Jason Mock, race directors, at (661) 313-1366 or sign up at the Lombardi Web site.

Heritage Haunt Pumpkin Festival
Inside Hart Park and at
Heritage Junction
24101 Newhall Ave.
Newhall, CA 91322
(one day only) 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24

Hart Park events
Pumpkin Carving Contest - divided into two age groups, 10 and under and 11 and up. Awards will be given out to winner. Two hundred free pumpkins will be provided by Albertson's. Lighting ceremony that same evening at 7:30 p.m. in front of Hart Hall.

Hart Hall shows
Natural History Museum: Entomologist Brent Karner will be doing a scary bug show.
Placerita Nature Center: Bill and Heidi Webber will be doing a Creatures of the Night Show.
Desperado's Haunted Hayride: Take a ride from Hart Hall to the Haunted Campgrounds. Along the way be entertained by musicians.

Hart Park Barnyard Animals will be available for viewing.
W.S. Hart Museum and Gift Shop will be open during event.
DJ Al Ewing will be playing music and giving out awards in Hart Park.

Heritage Junction shows
Pardee House: APRA Ghost Hunters will be doing a show called "A View from the Other Side."
Paul Thompson of the MUD Makeup Co. will be doing a makeup show.

Saugus Train Station Shows
New World Dance production of Sleepy Hollow.
Showdown Sierra Vista Boys & Girls Club performers and Showdown Fair Oaks Stagecraft afterschool program.
Back Stage Tours of the Heritage Haunt in the Newhall Ranch House.
Chewy's Pirate Cove
Haunted Village
Take pictures with Haunt Characters in the Scare Zone of the Junction.
DJ Jesse James will be playing Halloween music plus live musicians will perform.
Food and Drinks available at the Junction Saloon and Lyons Club barbecue.

Nancy's Ranch
25039 Magic Mountain Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
(661) 255-6943
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

A wide variety of pumpkins, plus squash and other goodies await you in a convenient, straw-strewn, seasonal setting just up Magic Mountain Parkway near the 5 freeway. Watch out for the ghoul in the wheelchair!

F&W Railway PumpkinLiner
250 Central Ave.
Fillmore, CA 93015
(800) 773-8724
Train departs at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through October

Fillmore & Western Railway locomotives and railcars are always decorated with tender ghoulish care to reflect the haunting season. Ghosts, witches, spiders and severed heads adorn the dining cars during the month of October to celebrate the ghostly goings-on of Halloween spooks. The PumpkinLiner travels to a private pumpkin patch at Loose Caboose Garden Center. Besides enjoying the pumpkins, kids can bounce in the Jolly Jumps, ride the carousel, have their faces painted, take a hayride through the corn fields, climb on the hay pyramid or dance on the stage to the spooky music of the DJ. Barbecue tri-tip sandwiches, hot dogs, roasted corn on the cob and other edibles are available. Seasonal arts and craft vendors are also onsite.

Fillmore & Western Railway Co. is located in the Heritage Valley, 20 minutes west of Six Flags Magic Mountain and 20 minutes east of Ventura. The vintage train travels through the pristine orange, lemon and avocado groves between the historic communities of Piru, Fillmore and Santa Paula. Ticket prices are adults, $17, youth 4-12 $10 and children 2-3 $8.

Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch
at the University of California
Hansen Agricultural Center
14292 Telegraph Road
Santa Paula, CA 93060
(888) 522-1884
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Halloween

A Ventura County tradition continues with the Santa Paula Rotary Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Festival at Faulkner Farm at the University of California Hansen Agricultural Center. Enjoy great autumn weekends with acres of bright orange pumpkins, a giant broom corn forest for the kids, towering hay pyramids, hay rides with historic information about the area, farm animals, pony rides, mini train rides, pumpkin chucker, face painting, a country store, delicious food and great entertainment. Admission $3; children under 12 in costume admitted free on Halloween

McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch
5156 McGrath St.
Ventura, CA 93003
(805) 658-9972
9 a.m. to dusk through October

Directly off Highway 101 is McGrath Brothers Pumpkin Farm, with rides, games and plenty of bright, orange pumpkins ripe for picking. Free hayrides are included on the weekends. You'll find a variety of pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn and farm animals.

Fall Harvest Festival
Underwood Family Farms
3370 Sunset Valley Road
Moorpark, CA 93021
(805) 529-3690
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Nov. 1 (5 p.m. Oct. 31, Nov. 1)

Acres and acres of pumpkins, plus live music, pig races, animal shows, wagon rides, train rides, corn maze, games and more. Admission is $10 on Saturdays and Sundays. $3 Monday through Friday.

Forneris Farms
15200 Rinaldi St.
Mission Hills, CA 91345
(818) 361-0714
Weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 1

Pumpkin patch, corn maze, train ride, giant hay pyramid, Great Pumpkin Jumper, face painting, farm animals, antique tractors and cars, food, refreshments and musical entertainment. Charges for some activities.



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