Atwater pumpkin patch prepares to open during the pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As we head toward the holiday season, more businesses are being forced to make adjustments because of the pandemic.

That includes Hunter Farms in Atwater.

The family-run property first opened with a small pumpkin patch and corn maze nine years ago and has continued to grow ever since.

In recent years, large crowds that have flocked to the farm to pick the perfect pumpkins and enjoy all of the other attractions, from an in-ground bounce pillow to the animatronic "Barnyard Squares" game show.

This year there won't be busloads of students, but the owners are still working to provide a fun and safe experience for their guests.

Scott Hunter says, "We are extremely excited to have our outdoor venue open this year so we can provide a little relief and excitement for people in our community."
Hunter says they've made more than 150 modifications this year. They've even added four new positions that are COVID specific to help sanitize everything visitors touch, including the corn chute slide and tennis ball blaster.

They're also blocking off every other row in the time-traveling tractor that takes guests on a trip through the Valley's history, and they're offering small group ag education sessions.

Visitors can also social distance in the corn maze, purchase mums that will be blooming soon, or choose from the same massive selection of gourds as years past.

Hunter says, "I'm pretty optimistic so we did not plant any less pumpkins. I think people are starving for an opportunity to come to a sourced local pumpkin facility to experience agricultural life with their family."

Hunter says the new safety measures are also in place to protect his own family members who are here every day helping, including his parents, wife, and children.

His son Zach says, "I just like the ranch. It's very fun being out here."

Now they hope others will still want to spend this holiday season at the place that brings them so much joy.

His daughter Ellery adds, "I really like seeing people having fun and not just being bored. Like when they have fun on the zip line, the slide, and all the attractions here it just makes me really happy."

The Hunters also added a large new cement pathway to improve access for guests of all ages.

The fall seasons kicks off on September 26, and there are some changes to the schedule to prevent overcrowding.

You can find more details on the Hunter Farms Facebook page.
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