Rotary Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch: Saturday starts month of autumn fun!

October 03, 2012
Santa Paula News

If it’s October it must the Rotary Club of Santa Paula’s Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch, now celebrating its 6th year of traditional family fun and featuring all things autumn!

The Patch has a new poster and other artwork created by student artists Brandon Lopez (Santa Paula High School senior) and Daisy Magana (a Barbara Webster Elementary School 5th grader), but the fun factor has remained the same.

Admission to the Pumpkin Patch at UC Hansen Trust Agricultural Center (the historic Faulkner Farm) is only $5 per person (babies too young to walk are admitted free). Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28. 

The Pumpkin Patch draws thousands of visitors each year to experience farm life and get an appreciation for how all those good things to eat are grown; building memories of good old-fashioned family fun and promoting agricultural education has been a long-standing tradition at the famous Pumpkin Patch. And there’s a bonus: this only such nonprofit event in Ventura County provides the Rotary Club with “the bounty of the harvest season” - revenue that is shared with the community through donations and grants.

According to Rotarian Maria Bombara, “Flying pumpkins from a recreated French trebuchet, a giant red corn maze, towering hay pyramid, old-fashioned hay wagon rides and 27 acres of pumpkins, food, crafts, animals create a harvest of fun! ...This is not your typical autumn pumpkin patch,” the reason, said Bombara, why thousands of people from Southern California make the pilgrimage to Faulkner Farm, located off Highway 125 at Briggs Road, each year. 

Adults and their little pumpkins alike come hungry to the Patch, and not just for fun. Delicious treats range from mouth watering tri-tip and country chicken sandwiches and Kettlecorn to fish tacos, fabulous burritos, whole pies and slices, and much more including beer and wine for the adults.

And there’s an ATM conveniently located at the Patch, where you can visit with the Channel Islands Gourd Society and shop at the Country Store and Farmers Market for local produce, unique gifts, and holiday items. The Master Gardeners will offer gardening tips and offer produce grown onsite for sale.

The low $5 admission includes fun and educational hayrides, climbing on the Hay Pyramid, exploring the Red Corn Maze and Hay Maze, viewing large and small animals, and enjoying non-stop live music. Also available are mini-train rides ($3 each), pony rides ($6), Face Painting (varied prices) and the Farm Animal Interactive Experience ($1 for kids, $3 for adults).

And speaking of experiences, don’t forget the Patch’s famous Pumpkin Chucker ($5), a Patch highlight. “Kids and those just young at heart take great delight in pulling the chord and watching the catapult fling pumpkins hundreds of feet to try to hit our recreated castle in the far off distance,” says Chris Wilson, the Rotarian who built the device. “It’s a hoot!”

Decorate your home for the fall with a variety of great harvest fare. Faulkner Farm has a bountiful crop of pumpkins, gourds, squash and cornstalks in a large array of sizes so you can bring that harvest spirit home.

“We’re a convenient drive from some of the most populous communities in Southern California, and we have the luxury of living in back-in-time California,” says Ginger Gherardi, also a Rotarian festival co-organizer. “This makes a perfect day’s outing for the family. They can spend the whole day at the patch if they want to. There’s so much to do!” And noted Gherardi, “Santa Paula is only a few minutes away so you can enjoy the famous historic Downtown” once the Patch closes.

Dogs are not allowed on the Patch’s premises, but cameras and video equipment are welcome: “We have two wonderful contests, a photography competition and the Under 3-Minute Video contest” that Bombara said is perfect for those whose cell phones have such capability. “But even if you don’t want to enter our contests, the Pumpkin Patch is the best place in the world to take photos of the kids.”

Faulkner Farm, established in 1879, was designated Ventura County Historical Landmark No.1 in 1968 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Faulkner House Tours are not available, but you can still stage a birthday party or schedule a special Friday school field trip at the Patch. For more information, visit

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