When I speak to my friends from out of town about the autumn season in Ellicottville, after explaining the complexities of Fall Fest (“It’s like a bunch of folk art and knick-knacks and everybody’s gearing up for ski season and there’s a lot of food and drinks to go around; I don’t know man, I guess you have to be there to get it.”) the conversation will always invariably drift to Pumpkinville. This is a local phenomenon that can be equally as difficult to explain to those who have never been. But for someone like me, who has been going since he was old enough not to make a mess in public, Pumpkinville is a vital part of the fall season. It’s where my family has always gone to buy fresh apples and cider, to pick out our pumpkins to carve for Halloween, and to find an excuse to pet a baby goat or two. It is irrefutably a staple of the area, and this year, it promises to bring new excitement to its traditional attractions.
One of the most promising attractions for the new season is the Punchin’ Pumpkin Race. This game invites visitors to square off against family and friends in a race against time as they navigate a maze while tapping a series of pumpkins along their route. The runner with the fastest time wins. “People have asked us to create something that will allow family and friends to compete against each other,” said owner Dan Pawlowski. “We think this will be a smash with our guests.”
The Punchin’ Pumpkin Maze joins the many other attractions Pumpkinville attendees know and love including: the Pumpkin Jumpin’ Pillows, hayrides, the Corn Cannons, the Cow Train, Gem Mining, Storyland, and (my personal favorite from days of yore) the Spook’em Barn.
The Corn Maze has been revamped for the upcoming season. This six-acre maze has been updated to be even more complex than in years past, and will be wrought in the shape of the Mix 96’s (WMSX-FM in Buffalo) recognizable logo. This logo, of course, will only be apparent when visitors take an aerial view. Thanks to the October weekend helicopter rides, however, any attendee can enjoy this view with ease as they take in the splendor of the surrounding valley.
One of the other key facets of Pumpkinville is the incredible food offered every year. I tend to shy away from pumpkin flavored foods in chain grocery stores, but the treats at Pumpkinville are so authentic they just can’t be passed up - the pumpkin doughnuts they roll out every year are practically other-worldly in their deliciousness. Not to be overlooked as well are their homemade pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, ice cream, old-fashioned Kettle Corn, caramel sauce and caramel apples, fudge, jam, maple products and much more.
In the face of all of these exciting games and delicious food, it is easy to lose track of the heart and soul of Pumpkinville … the pumpkins. Pumpkinville boasts an impressive 25 acres of nothing but pumpkins - sure to please even the pickiest of jack-o-lantern hunters. Or, if you feel that decorating pumpkins is too much of a hassle, Pumpkinville also sells a variety of hand-painted pumpkins perfect for Halloween and Autumnal decorating in general.
Pumpkinville will open Sept. 12 and run through Oct. 31. The farm recently recevied #6 ranking in KidsOutandAbout.com’s survey of the Top 20 places to take kids around Buffalo. The brain-child of Dan and Diane Pawlowski, Pumpkinville is the largest fall tourist attraction in Cattaraugus County, drawing more than 100,000 people during its six-week run. The 200-acre farm is also the oldest, continuously working pumpkin farm in New York State. A former winner of New York State’s Agri-Tourism Business of the Year, Pumpkinville is just down the road from Ellicottville at 4844 Sugartown Road in Great Valley, NY. For more information on Ellicottville’s answer to Disneyland, please call 716-699-2205 or visit www.pumpkinville.com