Get into the fall harvest spirit with the Snohomish Valley Festival of Pumpkins. Select your Halloween Jack o’ Lantern at a u-pick pumpkin patch, plus a bounty of other fall produce. Explore themed corn mazes and take an old-fashioned hay ride. Enjoy “After Dark” activities that range from non-scary family fun around a campfire to very scary haunted attractions that teens love.
Seven family-owned pumpkin farms band together to host the annual Snohomish Valley Festival of Pumpkins on late September/October weekends. Attracting as many as 200,000 visitors total, the festival is a fairly unique partnership that promotes agri-tourism, local farms’ economic importance, and old-fashioned family fun in the countryside.
Admission to each farm is free; there are charges for the corn mazes and after dark activities. Check the farms’ websites for admission prices and time schedules; some farms are open on weekdays, too, but offer certain activities only on weekends.
Bailey Vegetable Farm & Pumpkin Patch is a fifth-generation, century-old family farm that offers more than 40 acres of u-pick vegetables. In October this includes Bailey’s Pumpkin Patch with an amazing variety of pumpkins and gourds. There is a free play barn for kids, which includes rope swings, hay bales to climb and tractor trikes. Visitors can also take a free wagon ride around the pumpkin patch. Bailey’s offers an authentic, working farm experience.
Bob’s Corn & Pumpkin Patch boasts more than 60 varieties of pumpkins planted over 30 acres. They range from giant orange pumpkins weighing up to 200 pounds to ghost-white pumpkins and gnarly varieties covered with “witch’s wart” bumps. There are free hayrides to the pumpkin field and a tricky, 10-acre corn maze. For a real challenge, explore the corn maze after dark by flashlight. The Night Maze is open in October on Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Carleton Farm is home of the famous Pumpkin Cannon, where you can launch a pumpkin aloft to see how far it will fly — and how big a splat it will make upon landing. The family farm, founded in 1919, features hayrides to its u-pick pumpkin fields, five-acre corn maze, Kid’s Barn and Kid’s Korral play areas, and a variety of produce in its Farm Market. This year the corn maze design is inspired by Lady Liberty and involves approximately two miles of trails — with lots of dead ends and wrong turns — through the labyrinth. New this year is a Pumpkin Cannon-ball 5k run and Kid’s Dash on Oct. 4. After dark activities include a no-scare Dark Maze by flashlight and the very scary Haunted Swamp and Zombie Farm. These two are not recommended for children under 12.
Craven Farm has been in the family since 1949 and created the area’s first pumpkin patch open to the public in 1984. It features 20 acres of pumpkins, hayrides, farm animals, an pumpkin/apple slinger and face painting. Its 15-acre corn maze is themed “Alice in Pumpkinland.” After dark on Fridays, this becomes the non-scary “Night Owl Maze in Pumpkinland,” a fun family adventure topped off with a campfire and hot cider. Craven Farms starts a week earlier than the other farms and is open 9:30 a.m. to dusk from Sept. 24 to Oct. 31.
Stocker Farms offers a Family Adventure Farm at its Red Barn location, including a 10-acre pumpkin patch, 10-acre corn maze, hayrides, pumpkin cannon and farm animals that now include “real surfing goats.” There are also kids’ activities in the barn such as the jumping pillow, barrel train, ball zone, corn crib, tire mountain and rubber duck races. After dark, “Stalker Farms” terrifies with very scary, haunted attractions including live actors and original sets. Do you dare brave the “Field of Screams” and the clown-infested “Last Laugh” haunts — or shoot paintballs at zombies?
The Farm at Swan’s Trail has grown from five acres of pumpkins in 1995 to 50 acres and added many attractions along the way: its signature Washington State Corn Maze, u-pick apple orchard, wagon rides, petting farm, live duck races and Farmer Ben’s Famous Four Little Pigs Show. The 12-acre corn maze features more than 600 road signs and historical landmarks, incorporating great history and geography lessons. A children’s play area includes a hay jump, hay maze, slides, swings and giant jumping pillow, peddle carts and the cow train.
Thomas Family Farm offers a 14-acre pumpkin patch growing 30 different varieties of pumpkins and gourds. Its eight-acre corn maze has three versions: FSI Treasure Hunt, “Lil Paws” Kids Corn Maze and “Flashlight” Night Maze. And there is much more: you can ride on the White Lightning Monster Truck, enjoy the Rusty Nail beer garden and let your kids indulge in duck races, putt-putt golf, hay maze, cow train and kid’s paintball. Home of Zombie Paintball in the Snohomish Valley, the Thomas Family Farm boasts the “Nightmare on 9” haunted house, presented by Seattle Haunts.
Snohomish Valley Festival of Pumpkins
Bailey Vegetable Farm & Pumpkin Patch
12711 Springhetti Road, Snohomish
Phone: (360) 568-8826
Bob’s Corn & Pumpkin Patch
10917 Elliot Road, Snohomish
Phone: (360) 668-2506
13817 Short School Road, Snohomish
Phone: (360) 568-2601
8705 Marsh Road, Snohomish
Phone: (360) 568-7391
The Farm at Swan’s Trail
7302 Rivershore Road, Snohomish
Phone: (425) 334-4124
Thomas Family Farm
9010 Marsh Rd, Snohomish
Phone: (360) 568-6945
Julie Gangler is a freelance writer who has worked as a media relations consultant for the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. She began her career as a staff writer at Sunset Magazine and later was the Alaska/Northwest correspondent for Travel Agent Magazine.