Things to Do – Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival
For the last twenty-four years there has been an annual pumpkin festival within a car drive of the Lee-Collier line and I never knew about it until last year. My son and daughter-in-law extended an invitation for me to join their family for what I thought was an excursion to buy pumpkins. Little did I realize that we were visiting more than a mere pumpkin patch. Continue Reading: Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival
Hunsader Farms is about 1,000 acres of farmland located in East Manatee County Florida, just east of Bradenton, Florida. It is a working farm that is widely known also for its u-pick and farm market store. They grow and sell watermelons, tomatoes , cantaloupes, pumpkins and squash. What began as a family farm in 1967 has evolved to include a family friendly pumpkin festival every October. Since beginning in 1992, the festival has continually added new features and attractions and it has grown into quite an extravaganza. It has managed, however, to maintain the charm and feel of the county fairs I recall from growing up in Ohio. If the weather was a little more brisk, you’d swear you were up north.
Tens of thousands of visitors attend every weekend and they now come from hundreds of mile around. Second generations are now attending continuing the wholesome family tradition. When you go, plan a few hours, if not the full day. Besides the promise of pumpkins-to-go, Hunsader Farms pumpkin festival features nearly constant live music and activities which range from car shows and a petting zoo to the monster truck demonstrations and several types of stunt shows.
The full list of entertainment, novelties and attractions is far too lengthy to completely list but I can guarantee that there is something for everyone to experience and enjoy. I was most surprised by the massive, one-of-a-kind pumpkin cannon. Both kids and grownups stand in awe, with ears covered, waiting for the air pressure to build and launch a pumpkin a couple thousand feet across the farm. My grandson Aiden loved the dirt ramping, car crushing, monster truck show. The driver even has a meet and greet with spectators after the show which completely made his day.
Naturally, with the farm and fair atmosphere there are plenty of options for eating both healthy and carnival-style cuisine ranging from ice cold watermelon to deep friend Oreos. I skipped right over fresh sweet corn and went straight for the classic, powdered sugar coated funnel cake which I carried with me through the craft fair. The craft booths were outstanding and offered a wide variety of items including homemade jams, children’s clothing, toys and even live orchids.
We’re already planning our next trip to the pumpkin festival and vow that we’re making time for the hay ride and the “Family Feud” stage game show. Hope to see you there!
The Hunsader Farms pumpkin festival is located at 5500 Co Rd 675, Bradenton, FL 34211 and their phone number is 941-322-2168. The 2015 weekend dates of operation are October 10 & 11, 17 & 18 and 24 & 25 from 9 am - 5 pm. Admission $10, Parking $5, Children 12 and under are free. For more info and a list of activities and entertainment visit: www.HunsaderFarms.com
Happy Trails and Pumpkin Festivals!
Special to Southwest Florida Spotlight Magazines