Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz is fun for the whole family

Posted October 9, 2013 at 12:24 pm

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With plenty of pumpkins for everyone, The Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz in rural Monticello plants 6 acres of pumpkins, gourds and squash for the holiday season. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

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Nine-month old Pryor Balkman plays in the large corn box at The Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz. The corn box is the most popular activity there, with kids of all ages getting in on the fun.

By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

For many families, visiting the pumpkin patch and finding that perfect bright orange pumpkin for Halloween is a tradition, almost like a rite of passage.

Fortunately, The Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz, just 5 miles south of Monticello, provides you with a treasured family-friendly experience!

For 13 years now, Virgil Behrends and Dawn McElmeel have been greeting families and groups of visitors to their business, The Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz, in rural Monticello. Last year, their annual venture opened for the season at a new location on 170th Avenue, off Amber Road/X-44. This new property allowed them to dramatically expand the business and activities offered for adults and children alike.

This is The Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz’s second year at their new location.

“People are spending more time here with more to do,” said Behrends.

Aside from the wide array of pumpkins, gourds and squash to choose from, the many other activities include a hay bale maze, mini corn maze, tire maze, the barrel roll (which looks like a giant hamster wheel for people), the popular corn box, farm animals and more.

“We’ve added five new activities this year,” McElmeel alluded to. Some of the new attractions are the giant Twister game and giant checkers. They also have an old-fashioned egg and spoon race. The chalk house is just how it sounds, a mini shed painted with chalkboard paint. Anyone can write a simple message inside or sign their name.

Due to the popularity of the corn box at their previous location, they decided to build a larger corn box to allow for more kids.

The visit to The Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz would not be complete without petting the animals. Between the donkeys, alpacas, goats and peacocks, there are plenty of friendly animals around. Behrends explained they attend an exotic animal show in Kalona and bring the animals to the farm.

Before leaving the grounds, make sure to stop by the store and purchase some delicious homemade baked goods and a pumpkin carving kit. All of the homemade goods are made courtesy of McElmeel’s mom, Shirley Peiffer from Langworthy.

“She runs the oven,” joked McElmeel of her mother’s role within the family-run business. There seems to be a job for everyone at the pumpkin patch.

There is never a shortage of pumpkins here. After planting 6 acres every season, McElmeel said they never run out of pumpkins.

In addition to selling pumpkins of all sizes, The Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz has partnered with the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF). They sell paw print pumpkins that are decorated in animal themes. Half of the money goes to the AWF.

With so much to do and see, Behrends summed it up well, “It’s just nice to see all the kids having a good time and laughing. There’s so many activities here, the kids burn off a lot of energy.”

As of Monday, Oct. 7, Halloween is just three weeks away. Make plans today to visit The Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz before it’s too late. For group visits, call 319-480-2847 or 319-480-0076 to schedule an appointment.