By Kelly Youngblood
The calendar says it’s October and the air outside (finally) feels cool enough to remind us it’s fall. For many of us, that means it’s time for the annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch.
I decided to check that tradition off of my fall bucket list this week, so I loaded up two of my favorite pumpkin hunters and headed out in search of that perfect squash specimen.
As a local Chambana gal for many years, I was excited to venture out to an area pumpkin patch I had never visited before- Wagon Wheel Pumpkin Farm in Clinton.
Wagon Wheel Pumpkin Farm is actually located about 10 miles south of Clinton at the Martin family farm. It’s a rural area but I had no problems finding the place thanks to their very visible signage.
The drive there was a bit long, about 40 minutes from my house in Mansfield, but it was quaint and scenic. We passed the Clinton Lake area where we saw plenty of trees with leaves changing colors and someone must have cued the combines to harvest corn for our fall viewing pleasure.
The farm, which has been in operation for the last 12 years, includes more than 15 acres and has everything you need to get excited about fall including a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, hayrack rides, apple cider, donuts and other assorted treats.
According to its website, the farm boasts more than 50 different types of pumpkins and gourds- more than any pumpkin patch in Central Illinois! They also have a wide variety of animals on the grounds. “Pete” the peacock is a welcome sight as well as goats, turkeys, chickens, ducks, and guinea fowls.
My pumpkin patch enthusiasts for the day were two two-year-old girls. The favorite part of their day was a toss up between watching the animals and playing on the swing set that is available for kids. They had quite a bit of fun playing in the corn boxes too, which are like sand boxes but are filled with corn kernels instead.
Another unique highlight at Wagon Wheel Pumpkin Farm is admission is free for everyone! The farm is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 31.
Groups are always welcome at the pumpkin farm whether it’s a field trip for kids or nursing home residents. Groups are asked to call 217-736-2470 to set up appointment times.
For more information about Wagon Wheel Pumpkin Farm, go to www.wagonwheelpumpkinfarm.com.
Kelly is a mom to three wild and wonderful children and a freelance writer for a weekly newspaper. She has lived in the “suburbs” of C-U for more than two decades, but is always finding something new and interesting to do in the area.