HARTVILLE It is almost that time of the year when the area starts to see frost and Kingsway Pumpkin Farm in Hartville has plenty of pumpkins and plenty of family fun.
From playing in the corn crib, riding a train around the property, feeding small farm animals to riding a wagon to the pumpkin patch to select just the right pumpkins, Kingsway Pumpkin Farm has plenty of surprises for everyone of any age.
Mary King and her family own the farm and has opened it up to the public for more than 26 years. King said the idea for the popular fall destination came to her as a dream.
"My family comes from an Amish background, so we didn’t do trick-or-treating or any of the scary parts of Halloween," King said. "But one night I had a dream about pumpkins and somehow just knew I had to start growing and selling them. I started the first year with a little bag of seeds and I got three little pumpkins the size of a basketball."
Today, the farm plants 30 acres of pumpkins and has visitors from all over the area stop by from mid-September through early November. The farm also hosts school groups during the weekdays.
King said she can’t even guess how many people they see every season. People can select pumpkins from those already picked or ride a wagon a short distance to the open patch and select their own.
Through the years, it has grown into more than a pumpkin patch. There is a straw tunnel, a large box of corn to play in, a train ride, a petting farm, a fire truck slide, a western town, pedal playground, rubber duck races and photo opportunities galore.
One of the biggest attractions is the corn maze. Each year, King selects a different theme for the activities and the corn maze. This year, the theme is the Stagecoach Heist and is about nine outlaws hiding on the farm and in the Root Beer Saloon. In past years, the farm has had a maze in the shape of a fire truck, an ark, a castle and other shapes.
King, her son and other family members do all of the drawing, painting and cut the wood for the exhibits.
"I used to draw the mazes out by hand then put them on the computer," King said. "Now I use a special GPS program used for farm management to do the mazes. I started out doing craft items and now I paint all of the murals around the park, including those in the party rooms. My son has a sign shop so he helps me with the signs and cutting the wood used for the exhibits."
Her sister has also helped with making the outlaws this year. While there is plenty to see and do at the Kingsway Pumpkin Farm, the main attraction remains the hundreds of pumpkins. There are many different styles, colors, shapes and sizes to select from including the white pumpkins that King says is one of the top sellers.
"We have the cotton ball and full moon white pumpkins the knuckle heads, Fairy Tale, Cinderella and the orange pumpkins," King said. "The best sellers are always the medium sized orange pumpkins."
Megan Miller and her daughter, Navy, were both shopping for pumpkins. Miller said they come every year and that the farm is their favorite place to buy pumpkins.
The McManigal family, of Jackson Township, said the same thing about the pumpkin patch.
"We come every year to get pumpkins and enjoy all of the family activities, we do the corn maze and get pumpkins and enjoy the whole experience," Cheri McManigal said.