The holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving are during the fall harvest season, so many farms open their pumpkin patches to the public for people to choose a pumpkin to carve for Halloween or to make a pie for Thanksgiving dinner. Many of these festivals also give a boost to local tourism and educate people about the importance of farming and organic foods available to the public.
Chesterfield Berry Farm, Moseley, Virginia
The Chesterfield Berry Farm (www.chesterfieldberryfarm.com) holds pumpkin festivals throughout the fall, beginning in the middle of September and wrapping up the day before Halloween. In addition to picking pumpkins, people can go through an eight-acre corn maze, take a walk through a fun barn, take a barrel train ride, watch pig races, play in straw and play paintball. A store is also on site for people to buy homemade food, gifts and jellies along with seasonal decorations. As of 2011, there is an admission charge of $11.95 per person; senior citizens are $8.95.
Williams Orchard, Wytheville, Virginia
The Williams Orchard (williamsorchard.com) holds its pumpkin festivals every weekend in October. On Saturdays it is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays it is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Visitors can pick their own pumpkins, take a walk through a corn maze, go on a hayride and even watch a "pumpkin chunker" shoot pumpkins across the farm. Visitors can also buy apples, honey and other farm produce. Prices vary for activities.
Sinkland Farms, Christiansburg, Virginia
Sinkland Farms (sinklandfarms.com) holds pumpkin festivals from late September to early November; it's been a tradition for more than a dozen years. It boasts picking your own pumpkins, ice cream, face painting, pony rides, artwork, fall décor, live music and farm animals. Visitors can also take carriage rides and look at farm equipment. Foods such as hot dogs, candy, barbecue and baked goods are all on the menu. There is free parking with separate charges for certain activities around the farm.
The Corn Maze, The Plains, Virginia
The Knott Family began this annual pumpkin festival (cornmazeintheplains.com) in northern Virginia in 2000. It is held every year from late September to early November. Visitors can pick their own pumpkins and try a cornfield maze that is cut to a different design every year. The farm offers birthday parties for kids, a country store with food and gifts, school field trips and a barnyard full of animals. As of 2011, admission is $9, $8 for children under age 12, free for children under 4 and discounted for groups of 10 or more.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images