NORTHEAST OHIO — At Heritage Farms in the heart of the Cuyahoga Valley National Forest, owners Carol and George Haramis are gearing up for their fall season, offering a range of festivities including hayrides, a corn maze, and a scarecrow playground. They’re known as a farm for all seasons as they host new festivities as the year goes on.
Family-owned and operated for five generations, they're celebrating 170 years. Carol and George Haramis said they look forward to their fall season as they host a “Pumpkin Pandemonium,” but said it’s going to look a little different this year.
“We’re not going to have some of the attractions we normally have. We normally have a big huge corn bin here, we’re just not going to be able to keep the kids apart from each other, so we’re not going to have that. So, those are some of the kinds of decisions we’re making to be able to keep people farther apart, more separated, safer,” said George.
George said like many other farms and pumpkin patches, they’re implementing new protocols including hiring more staff to help enforce social distancing guidelines and requiring masks on the property.
They’re planning to have more visual attractions this year, like whimsical photo opportunities, but are able to keep some traditions alive like their famous hay wagon rides.
“We’re running three because it will shorten the line. We’ll get people on wagons once every five minutes instead of once every 15,” said George.
George’s favorite offering? His personally designed corn maze.
“When you get in there, you’re going to have a pretty good adventure getting back out. It’s an awful lot of fun,” said George.
And of course, what people really come for — pumpkin picking.
“We’ve got the pallet sections separated by 16 feet by I don't know 25 feet on either side. It makes it so a couple families can get in here or more and be doing the typical pumpkin search. You know you can’t just grab a pumpkin, you’ve got to find the right pumpkin,” said George.
George’s wife, Carol, whose family the farm is rub by, said they’ve been planning for their Pumpkin Pandemonium season since COVID hit in March.
“We’re really grateful that we’re going to be able to be open, this is a big part of how we support ourselves and we really were biting our fingernails hoping we would be able to do it,” said Carol.
Carol and George said hand sanitizer stations will be spread out throughout the property and staff will consistently be sanitizing high touch points. All this with hopes of allowing fall lovers to relax.
“COVID is COVID — we can't be 100 pecent, but we can make it so you can come out here, have an enjoyable experience, and as much as we can figure out how to do it, you’re going to be safer,” said George.
Heritage farms’ “Pumpkin Pandemonium” opens September 26.