Saturday, October 11, 2008
Extreme Pumpkin Patch: Jackson's Farm in Campville
By October, we have transitioned out of my beloved "festival season" (i.e., the summer full of Irish, Greek, Ukrainian, Pierogi, Garlic and Lumberjack Festivals) and I'm jonesing for a good excuse to get out and DO something on a Saturday. We wanted to get in some leaf peeping, so I suggested we venture about 15 miles west of Binghamton (i.e., heading into very rural New York) to a place I'd heard of.
Well, not exactly a "place" - more of a mecca. A pumpkin mecca, that is. No, not even a pumpkin mecca. Jackson's Farm in Campville, New York looks like Autumn EXPLODED onto a big patch of hillside off of State Route 17C. If it has anything to do with Halloween, the harvest, apples, pumpkins or being a kid, you will find it there. I tried to document some of its kitschy, homemade wonders, but I think I this covers about 20% of the offerings. There was literally EVERYTHING you could think of.
Yes, you are seeing an entire zoo made of pumpkin animals, including a HUGE elephant-sized one (the photos don't do it justice), a pirate-themed bouncy castle, massive spiders (there were like 10 of these things) outside a Haunted House (I couldn't capture the vast graveyard in front of it), face painting, pumpkin house, . . .
What I could not capture were things like the fact that the entire place- which must be several acres, is enclosed by a wooden fence with a double-row of mini-pumpkins standing only a few inches apart (that is a LOT of mini pumpkins!), the tractor show, the hay wagon rides, the dozens of fairytale-themed vignettes with dressed-up characters made of . . . pumpkins, the bake shop, the hamburger stand, the massive bins of every kind of apple, the funnel cakes, the tree house, the rock climbing wall(!!), the huge gift shop, the crazy squash, the full-size tee pee made of corn husks, candy apples coated in every color of goo you can imagine (including bright purple and blue!)
No, this is not your run-of-the-mill Pumpkin Patch that gets thrown up in a hay-covered suburban parking lot, just before the Christmas tree lot takes over. This is an EXTREME PUMPKIN PATCH. Side note: Sometimes I feel like an internet missionary or something, because many of things we come across here have not yet made it onto the ol' Information Superhighway. Not only does Jackson's Farm not have a website, but I can find barely a yellow pages entry for it online. Well, now we have glorious online photos online- hooray!
I wanted to pay special tribute to the Apple Flinger station (cost: 2 tickets) that was so simple and so simply awesome: some rubber tubing as the slingshot and a huge bin of mealy apples as your ammunition. GENIUS. This teenage boy was pulling waaaaaaaay back with all his weight and flinging these gnarly apples fifty yards uphill toward a pumpkin-headed scarecrow of a target. So awesome.
Special commendation also goes to the Pumpkin Hall of Fame, with its topical and well-executed Obama and McCain likenesses. Editorial note: Both of these pumpkins are smarter than Sarah Palin.