There are pumpkin stickers in windows, pumpkins lining the entrance to Kroger’s, and pumpkins dotting doorsteps left and right.
October is here, bringing the ubiquitous orange squash with it. Few rituals celebrate the coming of fall better than a visit to a pumpkin patch, whether you go for the Jack-O-Lanterns, the family activities, the fresh cider donuts, or all of the above. From cheery family farm to full-scale festival, here are some of the best pumpkin patch options in the greater Cincinnati area:
For Shaw Farms, “family” is the word. The first Shaws farmed in Clermont County beginning in 1807, and today’s farm is still operated by three generations of the Shaw clan. Though sweet corn has long been the farm’s calling card, Shaw Farms today has garnered a following for its sprawling pumpkin patch. Shaw’s fall festival, which runs throughout October, maintains the farm’s signature family focus; activities for all ages abound, from an interactive playground, to a 12 acre corn maze, to a gift shop with seasonal decorations.
Fall Festival open daily 9am-7pm in October; free admission
McGlasson Farms knows produce. What began as a sustenance farm in the heart of the Ohio River Valley has morphed, over the course of six generations, into a Kentucky staple with a loyal following of farmstand customers. McGlasson’s store is renowned for its fresh, seasonal products—apples, peaches, corn, tomatoes, squash, and, of course, pumpkins. For a taste of fall—fresh pressed cider included—head to McGlasson Farms, where the pumpkins come with live music on the weekends.
Open M-F 9am-6pm, Sa-Su 9am-5pm in October
Burger Farm & Garden Center
While some farms focus on pumpkins and produce, Burger Farm & Garden Center goes for a full fall bonanza. A garden and feed supply store by spring and summer, this former dairy and soybean farm in Newtown transforms into a seasonal experience come autumn. Activities include the usual pumpkin picking, hayride, and fall crafts, as well as more lively events such as puppet shows, live entertainment, pony rides, a petting zoo, and paintball.
Fall Festival open daily 10am-6pm through Oct. 30th; free parking; $3 admission, additional charge ($1.50-$3) for some activities, cash only
Gorman Heritage Farm
Jack-o-lanterns may be the star of Halloween, but it’s not the only symbol of fall to draw perennial crowds. Though Gorman maintains a sturdy pumpkin patch, the 100 acre educational farm’s main draw in October is its Sunflower Festival, regarded by some as one of the best fall events in the state. The Sunflower Festival basks in acres of golden flowers, with local food vendors and artisan booths, as well. During October, Gorman also features hayrides, a corn maze, and live music (check schedule for details).
Sunflower Festival Oct. 7-8, 10am-6pm; admission $8 adults, $5 ages 3-17, under 3 free
Neltner’s Farm & Event Venue
Neltner’s Farm serves as a popular wedding venue in Kentucky, and its photogenic qualities carry over to its celebrated Fall Fest. The monthlong party includes plenty of Instagram-worthy pumpkin perches, food trucks, barrel rides, a petting zoo, and a corn maze. On weekends, Neltner’s also hosts pony rides, face painting, and an impressive lineup of live music acts. The Fall Festival is so comprehensive that even the adults get a treat—there’s wine tasting on weekends.
Open M-F 9am-6pm, Sa-Su 10am-6pm; free admission on weekdays (not all activities available); $5 admission on weekends; live music 1:30-4:30pm on weekends
Irons Fruit Farm
A fourth generation farm in Lebanon, Irons Fruit Farm specializes in, unsurprisingly, the five essential fruit groups—apples, apple butter, apple cider, apple fritters, and apple pie. The farm kicks off its fall season with Lebanon’s Applefest in late September, and continues the celebration with pumpkin patch hayrides every weekend in October. Visitors are treated to free transportation to and from the farm store, access to their ample supply of carving-ready pumpking (price by the pound), and specialty, autumn-themed sweets from Irons’ in-house bakery. Brace yourself, donut fans.
Pumpkin Patch open weekends in Oct. 11am-5pm; free admission
Blooms & Berries Farm Market
A full store and berry-picking haven throughout the spring and summer months, Blooms & Berries shifts focus to all things caramel and caramel-colored come September. The Loveland market’s “Fall on the Farm” event offers numerous farm activities for everyone from toddlers (petting zoo, kiddie corn maze, duck races) to kids at heart (7 acre corn maze, seasonal foods store, dipped apples). The highlight remains, of course, the pumpkin patch, which overflows with pumpkins and tractors towing their pickers.
Fall on the Farm open Sept. 23-Oct. 31, M-Sa 10am-7pm, Su 10am-6pm; admission $8 M-F, $11 Sa-Su; all activities included in admission price; last hayride 30 min. before closing
Kinman’s Family Farms keeps the celebration down-home, simple, and true to the spirit of good food, friends, and fun. The Burlington, KY farm treats guests to hayrides across the pumpkin patch, opportunities to greet the farm animals, pony rides, tetherball games, and delicious apple dumplin’s from Mammaw’s Kitchen & Patio. If you can’t fill up on Mammaw’s Pumpkin Sugar Cookies, take some time at Kinman’s Grill, which serves community festival staples (pulled pork sandwiches) and pumpkin-picking fuel (deep-fried twinkies).
Fall Fest 2017 runs Sept. 23-Oct. 29, open W 10am-6pm, F 5pm-10pm, Sa 10am-10pm, Su 12pm-7pm; full admission $9
Brown’s Family Farm Market
A working family farm northwest of the city, Brown’s offers youngster-friendly entertainment and plenty of fresh, fall-themed produce. Hayrides escort visitors around the farm, while the central market sells squashes and gourds of all sizes, from prize-winning to pocket variety. During the month of October, Brown’s Family Farm also runs mazes, a play area for small children, and a picnic zone.
Open M-F 9am-7pm, Sa-Su 11am-6pm
McMonigle Farms Pumpkin Fest
Opened in 2009, McMonigle Farms, in Middletown, is a relatively new area farm that caters towards families with young children. In Halloween terms, this means more pumpkins and warm seasonal treats, less goblins and creepy haunted houses. McMonigle’s Fall Pumpkin Fest offers an array of non-spooky Halloween activities, including hayrides, a corn maze, cow train rides, farm animals, and plenty of walking space amidst Ohio’s beautiful fall foliage.
Fall Pumpkin Fest from Sept. 23-Oct. 29, open Sa-Su 12pm-6pm
Niederman Family Farm
Niederman’s Fall Festival has become a can’t-miss tradition for many, and it’s not hard to see why. The Liberty Township farm has developed nearly every conceivable community-bonding activity to commemorate the season, from classic hayrides and cinnamon sugar donut stands to tug-of-wars, pig races, and sand volleyball. Niederman’s Fall 2017 lineup features an elaborate corn maze (past designs include the state of Ohio and an outline of the US) and firepits and s’mores kits for rent (reservation recommended).
Fall Festival from Sept. 22-Oct. 29, open W-Th 6pm-9pm, F 6pm-10pm, Sa 11am-10pm, Su 1pm-6pm; admission $12 per person at gate ($10 online)