Falling into Fall at Liepold Farms
According to Linus van Pelt, the blanket-totting friend from the famous Peanuts comic strip, every fall the Great Pumpkin rises out of the patch he thinks "is the most sincere."
In our neck of the woods the patron saint of fall has an easy decision, as a Boring-based berry farm captures the festivities of the season with an annual celebration filled with corn mazes, goats, apple slingshots, cider and specialty donuts, unparalleled views of Mount Hood, and, of course, plenty of pumpkins.
"Coming to Fall Festival is a way to feel normal for a while," said Michelle Liepold Krummenacker, who operates the 350-acre berry farm alongside brother Jeff.
Liepold Farms' Fall Festival has something for the whole family, running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Oct. 31st at the farm, 14050 S.E. Richey Road. General admission is open until 4:30 p.m., though the farm recommends setting aside at least two hours for all the activities.
"We love Fall Festival," Michelle said. "It creates financial stability for us in the offseason, and allows us to connect with so many people across the community."
And this year there is plenty to experience while visiting.
There is the 6-acre corn maze, apple slingshot with a chance to win a prize pumpkin, "Bee Train" for youngsters to cruise around the festival grounds, and a scavenger hunt with exciting prizes. Three new residents have been brought to the farm — a trio of miniature Nigerian goats that love to frolic and climb up on the roofs of their playground. There is also a 20-minute hay ride with views of the mountain that allows visitors to learn more about the farm's history.
Pumpkins are available for sale — classic orange, huge and oddly shaped gourds, and even white pumpkins. Orange pumpkins are 50 cents per pound; while specialty, squash and gourds are 75 cents per pound.
There is food — specialty donuts, including the fresh-made apple cider mini donuts on the weekends, sausage dogs, nachos, and caramel apples. And one of the newest ventures is a line of ciders brewed with Liepold berries. Some of the flavors include blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, marionberry and strawberry. Eventually there will be a dedicated tasting room open year-round on the farm, and they will also can and distribute the ciders.
"Fall Festival is a chance to try and explore everything going on at Liepold," Michelle said.
The festival is equal parts fun and education. The theme is pollinators, inspired by recent bee hive collapses and severe reductions to butterfly migrations across Oregon. The collapse was felt at Liepold, as the apiary they work with had half of its bee colonies die off.
"Farming is science, horticulture, social, education, stewardship, and so much more," Michelle said.
Throughout the festival are information signs explaining the importance of bees, how pumpkins are grown, and more. Liepold is also nearing a total transition to becoming a fully-organic farm.
"It's the right thing to do, we want to protect this land," Michelle said.
Visitors to Fall Festival don't have to wear a mask while walking around the farm outdoors, but are asked to don a face covering when entering a building or pavilion. Though the festival draws hundreds each day, with timed-passes and a large outdoor space, visitors are able to comfortably distance.
"The safety of our visitors and employees is very important," Michelle said.
Adult full passes are $20, and kids' passes for ages 2 to 13 are $15. The passes allow access to the corn and dark mazes, apple slingshot, children's pavilion, hay ride, dead end challenge within the corn maze, and festival-wide scavenger hunt. You can also purchase individual tickets for specific activities. Learn more online at liepoldfarms.com/fall-festival/
A sponsorship from Country Financial also offers discounts on passes for first responders, nurses and firefighters.
"My favorite part of the festival is seeing the little kids super excited because many don't have opportunities to visit farms in more urban areas," Michelle said. "There is a freedom that comes with being on a farm that we love to share."
And Liepold is eyeing even more fun in the future. There are plans for Daffodil Days in the spring, and a celebration of sunflowers in the summer. They also are planning on a Valentine's Day gathering at the farm, and other smaller events scattered across the calendar.
"We want this to be a place to bring your family year-round," Michelle said.
And if you do make your way there this month, keep an eye out for the Great Pumpkin.
P.S.: If he really is fake, like Linus we don't want to know.
If you go
What: Fall Festival
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Oct. 31st
Where: Liepold Farms, 14050 S.E. Richey Road
Learn more online at liepoldfarms.com/fall-festival/
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