In its second year of operation, the Taylor Family Pumpkin Patch has expanded in scale to bring outdoor entertainment to families during the month of October.
Born of nostalgic memories of visiting pumpkin patches all throughout the Willamette Valley, Niki Taylor desired to bring the beloved fall tradition to Lake County. With support from her husband, Andrew, and their five kids, the family has turned their backyard into a festive fall playground, perfect for a day of family fun.
“I am slightly obsessed with pumpkin patches,” said Taylor. “Coming from the Willamette Valley we had tons of them, and I just wanted more stuff to do here. It is always a struggle finding more family-oriented things here.”
Bringing the Oregon tradition to Lake County was a big undertaking for the Taylor family, prepping their backyard area for several weeks in September and investing heavily in almost entirely locally sourced products to provide plenty of fun activities. They purchased 6,000 pounds worth of pumpkins this year, up from last year’s 5,000 pound haul. New to this year’s setup are swing sets, a teepee, balance beams, and a larger haystack and maze.
The Pumpkin Patch includes slides, converted from a 14-foot water slide donated by a friend, a petting zoo with animals on loan from Amanda O’Bryan, picnic area, photo backdrops, and of course pumpkins to take home. They had planned on adding a train ride after purchasing a riding mower, but mechanical issues have tempered that plan. The patch has benefited from local donations as well, including free wood chips from Collins-Pine sawmill. Lakeview Redi-mix also provided gravel.
The pumpkins are bought wholesale, but Taylor hopes that a local grower will try pumpkins next year, and if successful allow them to buy the lot. They also would like to grow corn next year to provide a genuine corn maze – the current maze is marked off with sticks and yellow tape. The haystacks are larger this year, allowing the slides to be genuine slides instead of last year’s flat tubes to crawl through.
“Giving something to the community is our big goal, but at least breaking even would be nice,” said Taylor. “We had a lot of people driving out of town to go to pumpkin patches, so we thought let’s just keep it here and add something for kids to do as well. Alturas had one, Klamath used to have one, but it has died down the last couple years.”
The Taylor Family Pumpkin Patch is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekend in October. Admission is $2.50, enough to cover insurance for the family, with light food and refreshments also available; though people are also welcome to bring their own food. Pumpkins on site are sold on a basic size scale rather than exact weights and measures, typically sold at $5-7 per pumpkin.
In its opening weekend around 100 people came to play, some traveling from Alturas, Christmas Valley and Klamath Falls. Taylor likes drawing people from out of town.
“We just appreciate the local community supporting us, and that we are able to spend our dollars here and keep it here,” added Taylor. “It is fun and exhausting. I would love to see this as a year-round playground eventually.”
The Taylor Family Pumpkin Patch is located at 18902 Roberta Road in Lakeview.