With 31 years of experience under its belt, Butler’s Orchard offers great family fun at their annual Pumpkin Festival. This weekend only event draws many visitors from DC, Maryland and Virginia and is an October family tradition for many in the area.
Admission and What to Do!
Admission to the festival is $10 per person with no cost for children under 2. No additional discounts are offered. Payment is cash only and must be paid before parking for the festival. The event runs from 10am to 5pm every Saturday and Sunday in October with one Monday opening on Columbus Day. This fall festival is extremely popular and the last mile drive up to the farm can be slow travelling. All festival goers must drive up to the parking lots.
Once you arrive to the festival grounds you are faced with the overwhelming decision of what to do first! Some activities require waiting in line, some are open ended and some require extra fees. Included in the festival fee are the giant slides, hay ride, pumpkin coach, duck races, playgrounds, hay loft, tractor slide, tractor bikes, corn maze, moon bounce and petting zoo. Activities with additional fees include face painting ($3), pony rides ($5), sand art ($4 to $7) and ceramic painting ($4 to $10).
- Giant slides: Two open air and one tube slide. Parents and kids can ride together or separately on the provided burlap sacks. A small baby slide for the youngest visitor’s is located on the side of the giant slides at the top of the hill.
- Hay loft: My kids could have played in here for hours! The area is shaded from the sun and offers opportunities for jumping, climbing and throwing hay…what is not to like?
- Pumpkin coach: A giant pumpkin pulled by mice (and a tractor), a Cinderella fantasy come to life.
- We also really enjoyed the great pit turkey, ham and beef sandwiches sold at the farm and having a picnic lunch while listening to the live music.
There are two places to purchase food in the festival or you can bring your own picnic with you. We chose to eat from the barbeque place located near the slides. Food here is priced from $2 for a hot dog to $6 for a pit turkey sandwich. All food sales are cash only. Another food stand located near the hay ride line sells apple cider donuts, quesadillas, soup and pie. Lines for both concession stands moved very slowly so plan to send one adult to wait in line while the other keeps the kids entertained somewhere else if you can.
The lines for the attractions seemed to vary throughout the day but tended to move quicker than the food lines. My kids waited an average of 10 minutes for the moon bounce, pumpkin coach and tube slide. The line for the hay ride got progressively longer throughout the day. Many people seemed to save that as their last activity so that they didn’t have to make an extra trip to the car to put their pumpkins away. The hayrides stop in the fields for a few minutes to make a pumpkin selection (though this is optional and an additional cost).
Overall the $10 per person fee covers a lot of entertainment and is a good value if you can stretch your visit for several hours. We spent four hours at the farm and our kids wished we could have stayed longer. To combine family fun with some great farm to table food stop by the farm market on your way out or head to the fields to pick raspberries (but call ahead to check availability).
Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival does not operate on days with inclement weather. They update their website in the event of closures so be sure to check before heading out if the skies are looking gray. The farm is a great place to be on a beautiful day but can get hot in the sun. Shade can be found under several large trees on the grounds, in the hayloft, at the corn digging area and in the hay maze. There are many bees and stink bugs around the grounds especially near the caramel apples and the trash areas.
To fully enjoy the Pumpkin Festival:
- Wear layers and closed toe shoes.
- Bring only jogging type strollers to navigate the uneven terrain.
- Bring wipes for cleaning hands and extra drinks if it is a hot day.
- Have a blanket or towel with you for diaper changes on the ground. Port-a-potties are the only bathrooms available.
- Leave your pets at home – Butler’s is a working farm and pets are not allowed.
- Don’t forget your camera!
Families of preschoolers or home schooling families can also take advantage of Butler’s “Pumpkin Harvest Days” on Tuesdays through Fridays. On these less crowded days at the farm $6.50 per person (excluding infants) gets you a hayride to the pumpkin patch and a “head sized” pumpkin to take home as well as access to the hayloft, giant slides and petting zoo. Many school field trips come on these days but individual families and small groups are welcome as well. Reservations are necessary and can be made by calling the farm or reserving online.
Enjoy fall on the farm at Butler’s Orchard in Germantown!
Photo by Kim Engstrom