Monday, October 15, 2007

Pumpkin Festival

What happens when you combine a Steeler-free (thanks to the bye week)Sunday, a beautiful blue sky day, and a mid-October visit to Triple B Farms? I think my husband summed it up well when he said, "This is like Kennywood!" He meant it in the most positive way. He loves Kennywood. Triple B was packed with festivities and festival celebrators. My kids had a great time. It wasn't, however, what I imagined as the way to spend a fall day at a Pumpkin Farm. My perfect day comes from a book Picking Apples and Pumpkins. http://www.amazon.com/Picking-Apples-Pumpkins-Read-Me/dp/0590484567/ref=pd_bbs_2/105-9590556-3253269?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1192494965&sr=8-2
And, like most things from books (and television and movies) reality is, well, different.

The approach to Triple B http://www.triplebfarms.com/ is quite nice. After a 50 minute drive through Carrick and Duquesne and then Elizabeth along the Monogahela (and there appears to be some truth to what they say about the Mon Valley being depressed economically), we drove up a hill surrounded by forest. We parked in a very crowded field and then paid our admission price -- $7.00 for adults and $9.00 for children ages 3 and over. This gave us a wristband that admitted us to all activities. What activities you ask?

Well, there was the path decorated by scenes of pumpkin people made up to resemble pop culture icons like Scooby and the gang seen above. There was the ducky derby which involved water pumps, ramps and rubber duckies, the "Liberty Tube Slide," the Boo Barn, which our 4 year old swears did not scare her at all (but that's probably because my husband was carrying her and she had her eyes closed the whole time), the petting zoo, and this baby duck slide. The ducks are lured up the ramp by the food at the top and then end up falling down the slide into the water (grabbing a snack along the way if they're good). They always seemed a little surprised to fall down the slide. My six year old thought it was hilarious. Me -- well -- not so much.While I waited in line for the hay ride to the pumpkin patch, my husband took the kids through some of the other activites: the tractor to sit on, the tractor tires to climb, the corn maze (in which they would never have gotten out save for being rescued by a 10-year-old girl who magically appeared like a spirit guide and asked, "Do you want me to show you the way out?"), the hay bales to scramble on, etc., etc. There were also pony rides which we skipped and other activities which I never saw since they were too far from the line.

Eventually we boarded our trailer filled with hay bales and made the rickety journey to the pumpkin patch. There were plenty of pumpkins out there, some still growing, which was nice to demonstrate to the kids. We then weighed and paid for our future jack o lanterns (29 cents a pound) and took the hay ride back.

We bought the kids caramel apples as a treat (they just ate the coating off the outside and never got to the apple). They also sold "food" -- hot dogs, sausage, pulled pork, nachos, fresh cut french fries (from Idaho potatoes if you believe the box they were in), popcorn and fudge. Also a treat (I forget what it's called) of sliced apples topped with caramel and whipped cream which I wanted to try but didn't.

We never made it to their farm store but they had one and it looked big. Probably similar to Soergel's or Schramm's, I would guess. My favorite thing about the farm is its setting. It seems to be huge or else surrounded by other farms or undeveloped land. It is a rolling hillside filled with meadows, fields, groves. It is just beautiful. I'm guessing the Steelers' bye week resulted in some good support for local farmers. And like I said before, the kids had a great time.

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