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Local fall attractions seeing tremendous turnout so far this season

Local fall attractions seeing tremendous turnout so far this season

Troy University sponsors field day for preschoolers

Children enjoy bouncing on a large inflatable during a field trip sponsored by Troy University at Corndodgers Farm in November 2018.

Hand-pick the perfect pumpkin for your front porch décor or shoot a corncob out of a cannon at 120 psi – the Wiregrass has plenty of fall-themed outdoor activities to suit any age or interest.

Since the pandemic has started, there hasn’t been much opportunity for collective fun especially since the National Peanut Festival announced the cancellation of the area’s largest annual family event.

Two annual seasonal attractions – Corndodgers Farm and Aplin Farms – have opened this year, however, causing people to swarm as they take the opportunity to enjoy the seasonal weather and enjoy time well-spent with their families.

Corndodgers Farm in Headland has opened for its 12th year with all of their usual activities and a few additional ones this year.

Its main attraction is a 7-acre corn maze, with 30-plus activities included and a few that cost extra.

Take a ride on a wagon filled with hay, the back of a pony, a giant tire swing, down a large pipe slide or a mini zipline. If you’re looking for something more active, there’s always the large jumping pillow anchored to the ground, tug-of-war, dodgeball, hay pyramid, human foosball, or the rock climbing wall.

Also, new this year, CornDodgers is offering paintball.

In-between the many activities, attendees can take a break and enjoy a wide offering of foods cooked on-site.

There’s boiled peanuts, barbecue, chicken fingers, snow cones, kettle corn, roasted corn, and a whole lot more, according to co-owner Amanda Knight.

Eighteen hand-sanitizing stations have been installed through the maze to allow people to stay clean as they navigate their way through the fun-filled maze.

Knight said there’s already been a great turnout this year as Halloween edges closer and is thankful that the farm can be a part of families’ fall traditions.

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“It’s very much a blessing. We’re in a very unique position to do what we do,” Knight said. “It gives people something to enjoy and smile about especially in a year like this, people can take their minds off of things.”

The farm opened at the beginning of October for weekends. Hours of operation start on Fridays from 5-10 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 1-6 p.m.

It's $14 to gain entry for children ages 3 and up and that gets you access to almost everything, excluding the corn cannon, gem mining, pony rides, and goat feed.

Aplin Farms in Malvern has also been open since the beginning of October with its same activities featuring its top-rated pumpkin patch with dozens of varieties to hand-select.

Its sunflower fields are in full-bloom and the animal barns have more animals than ever this year, according to owner John Aplin.

Aplin said the farm is taking all precautions as recommended by the state for operating an event.

The annual affair has created more buzz than usual this year with Aplin saying turnout is “way above normal” levels so far this year, especially on the weekends.

He’s urging people to come during the weekday afternoons if possible to avoid the farm reaching its maximum capacity.

The pumpkin farm is open Tuesday through Friday from 1-6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. until Nov. 1.

“Weekends are getting very, very crowded,” Aplin said. “All this fall stuff that we’re doing, the crowd has increased so we’ve added more stuff to do more things.”

Since the fair has canceled, Aplin said several fair food favorites including funnel cakes and fried Oreos have been added to the its menu along with its usual spread that includes hamburgers, hotdogs, and barbecue.

There are two different price points for admission: $6 for a wagon ride and pumpkin patch visit and some other activities and a $12 all-inclusive package. Children under two years old enter for free.

There’s only a couple more weeks until Halloween, the unofficial end of pumpkin season. Until then, there’s gourd-filled fun to be had.

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