Take in the fall fun at Renshaw Family Farms annual pumpkin festival
Yes, there will be flying mini orange orbs.
Spend a day at Renshaw Family Farms in South Buffalo Township, Armstrong County, during the 11th annual Pumpkin Festival and you’ll see that and much more.
Dates are Sept. 29, Fridays through Sundays in October and also Oct. 14.
“We have had the slingshots to shoot pumpkins, and new this year is the compressed air pumpkin cannon,” says Jason Renshaw, co-owner of the sixth-generation family farm with his wife, Jamie, his brother Josh and their parents, Bill and Judy.
Put the pumpkin in the sling and pull back and let go. Or put the pumpkin in the slot, pull back and let it fly from the compressed air pumpkin cannon. Think of it as kind of like a driving range.
The targets are Halloween-inspired, so you can shoot at your favorite villain among the monster faces across a pond. The blaster shoots 4-inch pumpkins up to 500 feet, and Renshaw Farms has grown more than 13,000 pumpkins for the event.
“We see a lot of families who have come here for many years. We find, not only do the kids have fun, but parents and grandparents have fun, too,” Renshaw says. “That’s what it’s all about — spending time with family enjoying the farm far away from the computers and iPhones and iPads.”
That’s only the beginning
Launching pumpkins is just one feature of the festival. Nearby is the store where you can purchase homemade jams and jellies or a bottle of sweet corn or bacon and chocolate soda. Gourds, Indian corn, small decorative pumpkins, corn stalks and decorative hay bales are also available for purchase.
The air-conditioned barn, which is used for weddings throughout the year, becomes a restaurant with fare such as hamburgers, hot dogs, haluski, macaroni and cheese and apple pie.
Feed the pigs, donkeys, chickens, ducks, horses, miniature cows, goats, calves and sheep in the animal park. Guests can enjoy a hay ride up to the pumpkin patch and pick the perfect one.
“You can buy a pumpkin anywhere, but here it’s part of an experience,” Jason Renshaw says. “You get to spend the day on a real farm.”
Selling pumpkins roadside
Renshaw Farms was established in 1834, and the Renshaw Family still lives on the farm today. Since the beginning the farm has raised dairy cattle, although the farm business has changed since the 1800s.
Jason and Joshua Renshaw currently raise grass-fed Black Angus beef on the farm.
The idea for the pumpkin festival began when Jason Renshaw sold pumpkins from the 289-acre farm on the side of the road. It started with one tent and one hay ride for about 500 people. It has grown to six tractors and larger wagons to accommodate 15,000 vistors annually.
Admission includes tractor- drawn hay ride to the patch to pick your own pumpkin, time to explore the corn maze, a visit to the animal park, a giant roll chamber race, kids corral horse races, hay bale mountain, hay bale slides, 9-hole miniature golf, tunnel crawl, corn beach (with a separate one for toddlers), tractor tire climb, fall fun games, fall photo booth and face cutouts.
Not included with admission are the bounce house, pumpkin launcher, compressed air pumpkin cannon and animal food. Pumpkins are priced individually.
The square pumpkin
Spookley the square pumpkin is just that, a square, instead of round pumpkin. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and Renshaw Farms has Spookley in the pumpkin festival, to raise awareness for bullying prevention.
According to IMDB, in the show “Spookley and the Square Pumpkin,” Spookley is teased and taunted by mean round pumpkins. He receives help from a scarecrow, two bat sidekicks and three very funny spiders.
When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 29, Fridays through Sundays in October and Oct. 14, Columbus Day
Admission: $7 cash only, children 3 and under free; every ticket purchased Sept. 28-29 includes a free ticket for a return October visit
Where: 314 Ford City Road, Freeport
Details: 724-294-0061 or renshawfarms.com
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .