Each autumn, leaves around Western New York change to brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. Each autumn, vegetables are harvested and apple cider is pressed. And each autumn, thousands of people flock to Pumpkinville.
Nestled in Great Valley, Pumpkinville is a 25-acre attraction that has been a free family destination for more than 40 years. Featuring a corn maze, pick your own pumpkin patch, apple cider mill and more, Pumpkinville is a perfect way to celebrate the fall season.
"One big thing, especially right now in this economy, is that it costs nothing to come here," said Dan Pawlowski, who has operated Pumpkinville with his family since 1996. "You can walk in here and see the displays, go through the little spook house, pet the animals, talk to the talking pumpkin, watch cider being pressed and walk out not spending a dime."
Visitors to Pumpkinville can choose from a huge variety of pumpkins on display, or pick their own.
P-J Photo by Rich Place
Many of the attractions at Pumpkinville are geared toward children. The pony rides, cow train, farm animals and ducky derby are some of the most popular things to do. There is also a corn cannon, which launches ears of corn at hay bale targets.
"Yes, kids love the corn cannon," Pawlowski said, laughing. "I'll tell you what - they'll shoot it all day out there."
There are also activities that involve the entire family. A six-acre corn maze is on the site, challenging visitors to navigate through a field with hidden messages and a surprise for those who can find their way out. There is also an old-fashioned mill that features a 120-year-old apple cider press.
Visitors can tour the mill and watch the entire cider making operation "from the beginning coming off the conveyor to the grinding, the squeezing and bottling," Pawlowski said.
And who can forget about the pumpkins at Pumpkinville? Grown on the 200-acre farm, there are thousands of pumpkins of different sizes ready to be used for jack-o-lanterns, decoration or seasonal recipes. That special gourd can be chosen from piles of displays or from the Choose-Your-Own Pumpkin Patch, featuring seven acres of pumpkins.
Visitors can watch pumpkin doughnuts being made and try some fresh out of the oven. There is also a weigh-off this Sunday, featuring pumpkins that tip the scales at well over 1,000 pounds. In fact, Pawlowski predicts there are a couple that could top the 1,500 pound mark.
With so many activities and shops featuring seasonal items and delicious treats, it's obvious why Pumpkinville attracts thousands of people on an annual basis. And each year, curious new visitors and returning Pumpkinville veterans alike make the trip to Great Valley.
"We get many travelers from overseas, and of course people that have lived here and moved out of the area," Pawlowski said. "They got to make it back to Pumpkinville. They remember it. We are going on people that are bringing the fourth generation here.
"That's a great feeling to know you are doing something that's good enough that people want to come back for that."
Want to make Pumpkinville an annual tradition for you and your family? It's less than an hour from downtown Jamestown, and the drive features a trip through the Southern Tier, which has a picturesque landscape in the autumn. Pumpkinville is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. rain or shine through Oct. 31. It is located at 4844 Sugartown Road in Great Valley, just south of Ellicottville.
For more information about Pumpkinville, visit www.pumpkinville.com or call 699-2205.