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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

    Country Pumpkins offers family-friendly fun in daylight


    Country Pumpkins in Orland has made itself a Halloween staple to many in Butte and Glenn counties. From early childhood to late adulthood, people from all walks of life have made fond memories in the pumpkin patch and corn maze.

    Run by the Gruenwald family, Country Pumpkins has been providing fall-themed family fun to their community since 2000.

    “My husband came home one day… and said ‘you know what? I think we should start a pumpkin patch over here for the west side,’” said Becky Gruenwald, a high school agriculture teacher and one of the owners of Country Pumpkins. “There was nothing over here for families to do.”

    Since Country Pumpkins first opened, they have drawn in big crowds of both young kids and adults, with many people attending and participating throughout the years.

    “I love that the patch is so easy and accessible,” Athena Reissler, a patron, said. She was roaming the pumpkin patch with her family. “They give you everything you need, and they have a good variety.”

    Rachelle Brewster, an employee at Country Pumpkins, shared her experience with the patch while growing up. Since the Gruenwalds are involved in the local 4-H group, they would have student volunteers from 4-H help them out.

    “We used to come out and the 4-H kids actually used to haunt,” Brewster said. “You just would wear black, and we didn’t have anything else that year… (My dad) actually put ketchup in my hair to make it look like blood one year.”

    Although the haunters are there to scare customers roaming the corn maze, Brewster said that being a haunter was also a scary experience, as it can get dark and creepy in the middle of the corn field.

    “Sometimes when there would just be three of us in a section and no one was coming through for a little while we would get together and huddle because it got scary for us too,” Brewster said.

    While many line up every October for the haunted corn maze, which is open six nights out of the month, people also gather at Country Pumpkins during the day for a fright-less day of pumpkin picking, petting animals at the petting zoo and walking around a haunt-free corn maze.

    “This is all about you and the pumpkins and going through the corn maze while its not scary and having a day in the country,” Gruenwald said.

    By having their patch set up with these two different atmospheres, the Gruenwalds can ensure that people from all walks of life can have a fun experience.

    “It’s two businesses working on the same piece of property,” Gruenwald said.

    Country Pumpkins also allows for classrooms to take field trips out to the farm on schools days in October.

    “They come out and they get to do the whole fall experience,” Gruenwald said. “They pick their pumpkins, they get the little play area, they get to walk through a little corn maze… we do have a curriculum that we run so they can be educated.”

    Field trips are $3 per student for everything students can do, including the walk through the corn maze and taking home three dollar-sized pumpkins.

    While certain parts of the daytime experience at Country Pumpkins cost money, a majority of it is free. Those parts that do cost money go to different non-profits.

    “We put that in a pool for our non-profit groups,” Gruenwald said. “A large majority of that goes to our 4-H programs.”

    Country Pumpkins is an experience that people keep coming back for.

    “Whenever I’m in town for the holidays I always come,” Reissler said. “It’s always a good time.”

    Jessie Imhoff can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JessieReports

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