It’s that spooky, sugary time of year again! Halloween is just around the corner, the children in your life are thinking about their costumes, candy and of course, the pumpkin obsessed adults you know are flocking to coffee bars for pumpkin spice everything.
Pumpkin patches, like Christmas tree farms and corn mazes, can be open one year, and not the next – due to the changing climate, varying rainy season (or lack thereof) and the year-to-year profitability and feasibility of patch operation. So, to make things easy, I wanted to provide you, dear FresYes readers, with a guide to the best bets for pumpkin patching fun in the Fresno/Clovis area (+ one honorable mention in Reedley) for 2019.
1. Pumpkin King
Located on the northwest corner of Blackstone and Shaw, Pumpkin King has been operating retail patches for 33 years and has a long-standing “pop-up” patch smack dab in the middle of Fresno offering a wide variety of pumpkins (price range is $3-$25), squash, corn and corn husks for sale, pony rides, shaved ice, fall photos, bounce houses and a hay-bale maze. Parking is ample and admission is free. Hours are 9 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week.
Something else extra special about Pumpkin King is the patch’s long-standing commitment to helping fill the need for blood donations for local hospitals. Each year, Pumpkin King hosts the Great Pumpkin Blood Drive and offers free pumpkins to donors. Typically donations are taken once a week, on Sundays. Contact the patch directly for additional details.
Planet Pumpkin is located on the northeast corner of First & Nees and is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 10 pm, and 11 pm on weekend nights. They offer pumpkins of all sizes and types, shaved ice, cotton candy, face painting and rides for just $1/per person. You can also reserve picnic tables to host a birthday party there. Admission and parking are free.
Located in eastern Fresno, en route to Sanger, Simonian Farms offers back in time, wild-west style fun with their year-round ice cream and retro soda shop, shooting gallery and gold-panning area. During the month of October, Simonian offers a pumpkin patch complete with Halloween costume accessories gift shop, a haunted house, and a hay bale maze. Entrance is free, and while you’re there, you can also stock up on locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as artisan-made local jams, jellies, wines, and candies. Our family went to this patch a few years back and had a really nice time. Simonian Farms is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily.
The Grove of Old Town Clovis is a relative newcomer on the scene, however, it is locally-owned and operated by a long-time Clovis residing couple excited to provide a fun, family environment in Old Town Clovis from October 4th through the 31st. It appears that there will be at least seven different carnival rides for guests to enjoy, as well as live music from 7-10 pm every Friday and Saturday night during the patch’s operating season. Admission is $1 on Fridays and weekends. The Grove is located at 804 Clovis Avenue in Clovis.
Honorable Beyond Fresno/Clovis Mention: Hillcrest Farms
Located in Reedley, CA, just 40 minutes southeast of Fresno, Hillcrest offers a wooded wonderland of family fun with pumpkins, steam train rides ($4/person), hayrides ($3/per person), concessions, nature trails and play areas. Of all the patches, this is the one I hear touted most often as the favorite.
Hillcrest does have a per vehicle fee of $5/car on the 1st, 2nd and last weekends of the month, and $10 per car on the peak third, fourth and fifth weekends in October. 2019 operating hours are 10am to 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays.
For additional information on any of the patches mentioned, click the name of the patch to be directed to their website or Facebook page.