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Fall fun

It’s the season of pumpkin patches and harvest festivals

Posted: October 15, 2010 6:00 a.m.
Updated: October 15, 2010 6:00 a.m.
Scarecrow Alley at Lombardi Ranch. Scarecrow Alley at Lombardi Ranch.
Scarecrow Alley at Lombardi Ranch.
Nancy Roatcap and friend at Nancy’s Ranch. Nancy Roatcap and friend at Nancy’s Ranch.
Nancy Roatcap and friend at Nancy’s Ranch.
Children play on the old fire engine at Lombardi Ranch. Children play on the old fire engine at Lombardi Ranch.
Children play on the old fire engine at Lombardi Ranch.

There's something about a sea of orange pumpkins that just says "fall," and when you combine your pumpkin hunt with scarecrows, hay pyramids, pony rides, crafts and other seasonal entertainment, your soul can't help but soften into autumn mode, be it Halloween or beyond. While you can find a "pumpkin patch" around nearly every corner this time of year, here are some fall celebrations that should not be missed.
And don't forget the kids!

Lombardi Ranch
29527 Bouquet Canyon Road
Saugus, CA 91390
(661) 296-8697  
Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lombardi Ranch has been selling pumpkins and other produce since 1968, but its Halloween Pumpkin Festival began in 1989. October weekends have evolved into something special, with bands, a petting zoo, bake sales, wagon rides, face painting, pony rides, train rides and lots of things to see and climb on.
Scarecrow Alley presents a wide trail winding through towering sunflowers. Around every turn are "scarecrows," interpretations of Halloween themes entered into the scarecrow contest by local individuals, families, school and scouting groups.
Visit the Web site for Saturday and Sunday activities through Oct. 31. But one of the highlight events is on Oct. 31, when the Santa Clarita Runners host their second annual Monster Dash 5K Race/Walk and Kids K at Lombardi Ranch at 8 a.m. (Kids K starts at 7:45 a.m.) The entire course will be run at the ranch, climbing up Dead Man's Hill, then running down the pumpkin patch, through several corn and sunflower mazes and finishing through Scarecrow Alley. Runners are encouraged to dress in costume. Race proceeds will benefit the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children's Cancer. Car pooling is recommended. Call (661) 313-1366 or sign up at the Lombardi Web site.

Pumpkin and Blue Grass Festival
Inside Hart Park and at
Heritage Junction
24151 Newhall Ave.
Newhall, CA 91321
(661) 254-1275  
The free Heritage Haunt Pumpkin Festival takes place Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There will be six live bands performing at Hart Park and a Pumpkin Carving Contest. Two hundred free pumpkins will be provided by Albertsons. The Pumpkin Carving Contest will be divided into two age groups - 10 and under, and 11 and up. The pumpkins are available on a first come, first served basis. Contestants may bring their own pumpkins (no size limits). The first place winner will get a photo in The Signal newspaper. Other activities include the Desperados Haunted Hayride, a Creatures of the Night nature show with Bill and Heidi Webber, silent movie shorts, Halloween makeup instruction, New World Dance
Production of "Alice in Scaryland," Showdown Production of a Halloween-themed show, Scare Zone photos, Chewy's Pirate Cove and Hart Park animals.

Nancy's Ranch
25039 Magic Mountain Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
(661) 255-6943  
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
A wide variety of pumpkins, plus squash and other goodies await you in a convenient, straw-strewn, seasonal setting just up Magic Mountain Parkway near the 5 freeway. Watch out for the ghoul in the wheelchair!

F&W Railway PumpkinLiner
250 Central Ave.
Fillmore, CA 93015
(800) 773-8724  
Train departs at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. (call for 4 p.m. availability) Saturdays and Sundays through October
Fillmore & Western Railway locomotives and railcars are always decorated with tender ghoulish care to reflect the haunting season. Ghosts, witches, spiders and severed heads adorn the dining cars during the month of October to celebrate the ghostly goings-on of Halloween spooks. The PumpkinLiner travels to a private pumpkin patch at Loose Caboose Garden Center. Besides enjoying the pumpkins, kids can bounce in the Jolly Jumps, ride the carousel, have their faces painted, take a hayride through the corn fields, climb on the hay pyramid or dance on the stage to the spooky music of the DJ. Barbecue tri-tip sandwiches, hot dogs, roasted corn on the cob and other edibles are available. Seasonal arts and craft vendors are also onsite.
Fillmore & Western Railway Co. is located in the Heritage Valley, 20 minutes west of Six Flags Magic Mountain and 20 minutes east of Ventura. The vintage train travels through the pristine orange, lemon and avocado groves between the historic communities of Piru, Fillmore and Santa Paula. Ticket prices are adults, $19, youth 4-12 $12 and children 2-3 $10.

Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch
at the University of California
Hansen Agricultural Center
14292 Telegraph Road
Santa Paula, CA 93060
(888) 522-1884  
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Halloween
A Ventura County tradition continues with the Santa Paula Rotary Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Festival at Faulkner Farm at the University of California Hansen Agricultural Center. Enjoy great autumn weekends with acres of bright orange pumpkins, a giant broom corn forest for the kids, towering hay pyramids, hay rides with historic information about the area, farm animals, pony rides, mini train rides, pumpkin chucker, face painting, a country store, delicious food and great entertainment. Admission $3; children under 12 in costume admitted free on Halloween.

McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch
5156 McGrath St.
Ventura, CA 93003
(805) 658-9972  
9 a.m. to dusk through October
Directly off Highway 101 is McGrath Brothers Pumpkin Farm, with rides, games and plenty of bright, orange pumpkins ripe for picking. Free hayrides are included on the weekends. You'll find a variety of pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn and farm animals.

Fall Harvest Festival
Underwood Family Farms
3370 Sunset Valley Road
Moorpark, CA 93021
(805) 529-3690  
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Oct. 31
Acres and acres of pumpkins, plus live music, pig races, animal shows, wagon rides, train rides, corn maze, games and more. Admission is $12 on Saturdays and Sundays. $3 Monday through Friday.

Forneris Farms
15200 Rinaldi St.
Mission Hills, CA 91345
(818) 361-0714  
Weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 7
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, train ride, giant hay pyramid, Great Pumpkin Jumper, face painting, farm animals, antique tractors and cars, food, refreshments and musical entertainment. Charges for some activities.



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