Local orchards offer family fun for Halloween

By Michelle Cordonnier

October 24, 2012

[caption id="attachment_13197" align="alignnone" width="300"] Local orchards give students the opportunity to enjoy the Halloween season.[/caption] Missouri Western students have a variety of pumpkin patches, hayrides and corn mazes that they can venture out to this Halloween. Local area orchards close to St. Joseph offer a variety of fun activities for Halloween. Family Fun Days are being offered at two of the nearby orchards on Saturday, Oct. 27. Both orchards will conduct a special event for Halloween. Hunts will have its own theatrical production, and Schweizers will host a state-sanctioned Pedal Tractor Pull. Hunts Orchard, located northwest of campus, will host its Family Fun Day the same Saturday, although its event is open on weekends throughout the month of October. Hunts offers a variety of activities that are family-oriented. Hunts is located off  North 129 Highway, take exit 60 near Amazonia. Hunts' hours of operation are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Manager Brenda Carneal of Hunts Orchard says that Hunts has a production with a new theme every year. “This year’s theme is 'Snow White and The Little People,'" Carneal said. “It will be really fun and cute, the show has ran throughout the month, our last show will be held Sunday, Oct. 28 at 4 p.m.” Hunts offers people the chance to take hayrides to and from the pumpkin patch, and an opportunity to pick your own pumpkin. Specific activities are geared towards children, but it is a family event so anyone may participate. “We offer hayrides, hay mazes, grass mazes, an obstacle course, pony rides, a petting farm, face-painting, there is a food tent and a bonfire where people can roast hot dogs and marshmallows,"Carneal said. "It is fun for the whole family.” Schweizers Orchard, just minutes from the Belt Highway, is located on Junction FF, off of Highway 169. Schweizers is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays. However, Halloween festivities and Family Fun Day will be held on Oct. 27. Family Fun Day at Schweizers will include a children’s costume parade, carnival games, bonfires, food concessions, and the main event of Family Fun Day will be the Pedal Tractor Pull for children. The Pedal Tractor Competitions are hosted by Myer’s Pedal Tractor Pulls. The winners of the Pedal Tractor Pull may qualify and move onto a state competition for Pedal Tractor Pulls. All ages are allowed to participate but only children who meet the age requirements may compete for the honor of going on to the State Pedal Tractor Pull. A family or individuals may take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch, pick a pumpkin, and wander through the corn maze located at the top of a hill near the pumpkin patch. Down the hill from the pumpkin patch is a store that sells Schweizers' freshly picked and made products, such as apple butter, apple cider, pumpkin breads and all kinds of yummy treats. Located near the store is a straw maze for young children to run through, a working train that the kiddos can take rides on, a small playground and many other amenities for the youngsters. Corey Schweizer, an owner and operator of Schweizers, felt that a large percentage of Family Fun Day is geared towards the children, but older people can have a good time, too. “College students will have fun, taking a hayride, picking a pumpkin, and running through the corn maze," Schweizer said. "Afterwards they can enjoy a hot cup of apple cider, get some food and sit by the bonfire." The Eagle Radio station also hosts an event for Halloween, “The Great Pumpkin Drop,” which will also be held Saturday, Oct. 27. People drop pumpkins off of a tall building, and some pumpkins contain prizes. The pumpkins are donated for the event by Schweizers Orchard. “We don’t actually have anything to do with the planning of the pumpkin drop, we just donate the pumpkins -- but I imagine it’s a good time,” Schweizer said. Halloween activities around St. Joseph are geared towards safe family-friendly fun.