Buckhorn & Lakefield, Ontario:
PUMPKINFEST! Two Words: Pumpkin. Cannon.
About 40 minutes North-ish of Peterborough, Ontario lies the itsy bitsy village of Buckhorn. We’ve been to the area several times to eat delectable Chinese food at the Cody Inn, inhale a Kawartha Hoagie at Mainsreet Landing or to Pizza Alloro for the most interesting and mouthwatering pizza I’ve ever had.
Since we’ve had our little people our trips to Buckhorn have centred around the McLean and Buckhorn Berry Farms. Both are now owned by the same folks and offer the best strawberry picking around. We fill pail upon pail with grand plans to make yummy jam. The truth of the matter is though that we just eat our body weight in berries. Sometimes covered heavy cream with sugar on top for good measure and end up with just 3 jars of jam. Unlike their nearby sister site, McLean Berry Farm is in Lakefield not Buckhorn, located on the 16th Line, off of Buckhorn Road.
This year we made it to McLean Berry Farm for PumpkinFest! It was a blast for all of us. For the cost of admission ($8.00/ person, $28/family of four, under 2 are free, free, free) all of the activities inside the gates are included. At first we thought it was a little pricey but after we realized what was included it seemed like a good deal for hours of family fun.
There is a graveyard set up with some pretty funny head stones that leads to one of two – count ‘em, two – corn mazes. The first one that we entered had super tall, green and golden stalks. Isaac kept running ahead giving me a couple minor heart attacks since I’ve apparently watched too many scary movies. At the end there was a person that jumps out with a chainsaw. After realizing that we, and others around us had small people he just kind of stood there which I appreciated. The second corn maze exits into a hay bale maze. After the corn mazes, Isaac was pretty sure he was a maze expert and lead us though this one all by himself. There is a giant sand box which was a hit with both kids. Isaac enjoyed the obstacle course and went through it several times. Also inside is a jumpy castle. I’m yet to meet a child who doesn’t love a good jumpy castle. Next to the jumpy castle is pumpkin bowling and a scare barn for the little ones. Maddie noticed the plastic dog skeleton first and was petting it, softly saying “mom, mom, kitty cat, meow meow”. We took the hay wagon ride to the Haunted Forest. The Haunted Forest employs actors that jump out and scare you so we opted out of that and chose to enjoy the ride around. There is another hay ride to the big pumpkin patch. We were having so much fun at the other activities that we lost track of time and missed the last ride to the pumpkin patch for the kids to pick their pumpkins so we will have to get them another day. There is a chip truck and melt-in-your-mouth kettle corn available if you get hungry, and because there’s always room for kettle corn. If, like us, you don’t make it to the pumpkin patch there is a store on your way out that sells them along all manner of yummy, farm grown veggies, pumpkin carving kits, honey, drinks and much more. The store was super busy so we decided to venture back to the car.
One last thing…PUMPKIN CANNON! The pumpkin cannon is stuffed and fired every hour on the half hour until 3:30. We were excited and arrived at the cannon about 5 minutes early. Just early enough to snag a front row seat. There are hay bale targets painted and stacked at the back of the field. The man stuffed a pumpkin in the cannon and fired it off. It was pretty exciting. He did this a few times and then came the grand finale – six pumpkins! Isaac counted each one as it was jammed in. 5, 4,3,2,1 BOOM! Pumpkin explosion. So much fun.
We really enjoyed this day and would definitely recommend it if you are looking for some Halloween and Fall family fun. For $40, your family could enjoy everything they have to offer and come home with self-picked pumpkins and kettle corn to boot.
There really is something special about seeing kids pick out their own pumpkins from a field. The first time we took Isaac to pick out his own pumpkin from a farmers field he was 2 years old. He was so full of pride, he tried his very best to carry it himself and told everyone that would listen the tale of picking his pumpkin. There are pumpkin farms all over the province waiting for your littles to run through and pick out just the right one to carve and light up the front step of your home. So find the farm, traipse through the fields, take in the bright colours and breathe deeply the cool, crisp air the autumn brings.