Cider donuts, barrel slides and pig races all in one place?! If you are looking for a fall activity that offers a full day of excitement with fewer crowds, then head out to Great Country Farms! From September 28 through October 31, 2013, Great Country Farms is holding their annual Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival from 9am to 6pm. Located just off of Route 7, about 20 minutes West of Leesburg, VA, this festival is set amidst a beautiful backdrop. [Note: If you are using a GPS to get out to the farm, make sure that once you turn on Foggy Bottom Road, you look for the entrance signs and ignore your GPS.]
The park is spread out over 200 acres so even if there are a lot of people around, it feels less congested than many other festivals in the Northern VA area. Once you park, walk up to the check in area and pay for your ticket(s). You will be given a park map, wristbands and some information regarding the events happening for that day. If you are interested in feeding the animals, you can purchase a feed cup for $2, refillable for $1 so keep your cup for next year.
The festival has a gamut of activities for all ages. While we were there we enjoyed watching the P-Rex smash some pumpkins and cheering on the fastest piglet. These events only happen a few times a day so make sure you plan accordingly. Perhaps our favorite experience was the jumping pillow located adjacent to a very unique play area. The jumping pillow is for children ages 12 and under. The playground area features many opportunities for imaginative play, as there are several wooden climbing structures (a boat, trucks) and a rope spider web. Children ages 3 and older can get their senses going while digging through a corn pit. What a fun way to explore corn!
We hit up a couple of tunnel slides and took a stroll through the animal feeding area. There is a hand sanitizer station in this area. We were there on a Sunday and the lines were minimal. At one point there were way too many kids on the jumping pillow but that cleared out quickly once the pig races started.
After saying hi to the animals, hitting up the slides and bouncing on the pillow we were ready for some lunch. Throughout the park, there are many picnic tables to enjoy your food. We packed our lunch and enjoyed eating it at a picnic table in front of the Roosteraunt Concession Stand. Along with our picnic we picked up some fresh apple cider from the concession stand to enjoy with our food. The cider donuts are delicious as well. The food prices range from $.75 for a donut to ~$6 for a bbq pork sandwich. The food stand accepts cash and credit cards. While we ate, Mr. Don serenaded us. He sang a spunky mix of kid tunes that got them up and moving. This area also featured a bubble making station and the one and only Pumpkin Princess. If there are any princess fans in your party, you will want to pay her a visit! She is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 3pm.
We ended our stay with a short hayride out to the pumpkin patch to pick our own pumpkins. The cost this year was $.59 a pound. This is a good activity to save for the end so that you are not toting your heavy pumpkins around while you explore the park.
Your admission to the park also includes entrance to a variety of mazes, a bouncy horse race track, 18 hole cow pie putt-putt golf, rope swings, catch and release fishing (bring your own gear), and a wine tasting of 3 wines at Bluemont Vineyard across the street from the farm. Awesome.
Things to Note
- Bring water and sunscreen. Dress for the farm (i.e. closed toed shoes.)
- Bathrooms are located close to the main entrance. We did see one port a potty as we were walking further from the main entrance.
- Strollers are permitted.
- We recommend visiting during off times – Great Country Farms suggests planning a weekday afternoon visit when they are least busy.
- School tours are scheduled Tuesdays to Fridays and generally depart by 1pm. Plan accordingly.
- You can head over to the Bluemont Vineyard (a short drive up the hill from Great Country Farms). There with your adult admission from GCF you can take part in a Farm Flight Tasting of 3 wines. Tastings take place 11am to 5pm daily except for Tuesdays.
- Weekdays- $8/child, $10/adult
- Weekends & Columbus Day- $10/child, $12/adult
- Children under 2, military families with ID and CSA and Fan Members are FREE
Photos by Marcy Fisher.