By Tracy Thayer for the Bandera Bulletin, October 14, 2020
Nothing says “fall has arrived” like a visit to The Great Hill Country Pumpkin Patch in Medina or the Pipe Creek Pumpkin Patch in Pipe Creek.
The Great Hill Country celebration opened on Saturday, Oct. 10, to eager kids, parents, and grandparents streaming in from all over South Texas. It will open on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays through October, with the last showing on Nov. 1.
From a shaded perch on one of the hay bales positioned around the 10-acre tract, visitors can hear the soft giggles of youngsters playing all over the festival grounds.
The hours of operation at the Hill Country Pumpkin Patch are 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily, but festival organizers recommend getting there early as all shows and activities follow a schedule. Late comers may miss a performance they hoped to see.
The entrance fee is $7 for anyone age 3 and up. Anyone younger than that is admitted for free. Military members receive a discounted rate of $4. Parking is free across the street from the festival grounds.
The entry fee allows kids to participate in a variety of outdoor entertainments like scarecrow building, fall games, live music and storytelling, piglet racing, pumpkin painting, farm animal petting, an apple barn tour and numerous stops offering photo opportunities, which are guaranteed to please parents.
Grandparent Gloria de la Garza was among the throng of visitors at one of the opening weekend showings.
She said, “We wanted to take my grandson to a pumpkin patch, and I told his mother that this is the one to do. This one has lots more activities than the other ones in San Antonio.”
For new parents Page and Tom Boyd of Boerne with their 13-month-old twins, it was all about the pumpkins.
“We thought we’d come out and see what was going on,” said Page
Boyd. They purchased two pumpkins for their holiday decor.
Some things to know before you go: the festival grounds are extensive so good walking shoes are a must. Plenty of shade and seating is available for adults while kids participate in activities.
Mornings are pleasant, but late afternoons can get warm. Sunscreen is a necessity. Food and drinks are available to purchase, but lots of folks carried in backpacks and strollers with water and snacks from home.
There are some activities that do require extra cash. Food to hand feed the farm animals is a small extra charge. Pumpkin painting requires the upfront purchase of a pumpkin while the paint is provided free.
Sanitation options are provided to festival goers throughout the venue. Social distancing is encouraged. Bandera County does not require masks, but some adults and children did wear them.
The Great Hill Country Pumpkin Patch is located at 14024 State Hwy 16 North right outside of Medina.
The Pipe Creek Pumpkin Patch at 805 Phil’s Road in Pipe Creek got started a week earlier than the Great Hill Country festival.
It is open on Saturdays and Sundays only and will run on those days through Oct. 31, not on Nov. 1.
The Pipe Creek patch also is filled with fun things for youngsters to do, including pumpkin painting, marshmallow roasting, hop ball riding, rubber duck racing and a hay ride, along with plenty of opportunities for fall season photos.
On Saturday, Oct. 10, the site which doubles as the Pipe Creek Christmas Tree Farm during the Christmas season was overflowing with families and excited youngsters racing from play station to play station.
The weather was more summer-like than fall, but everyone said they were glad to be out with their family enjoying the season.
“This definitely has more stuff than other pumpkin patches we’ve been to. We’ll definitely be coming back,” said Brie Hubbard, who had come to the Pipe Creek patch with her husband Brian and her daughter Blake.
That pumpkin patch is open from 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM each day and charges admission of $6 per person, except for those age 2 and under who get in for free.
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