Thousands Visit Pumpkin Patch Each October

By: Rayne McKenzie
By: Rayne McKenzie

This has been a successful year for pumpkin farmers.

Some say it's the biggest year they've ever seen.

One farmer in particular has transformed his place into a fall playground for children with sunflowers and pumpkins to pick and a corn maze.

John Aplin runs Aplin Farms just four miles outside Dothan.

He's a major produce grower in the area. During this time of year, he caters to families who are looking for activities which allow their children to get into the Halloween spirit.

Owner of Aplin Farms, John Aplin, said "Pumpkin patch has exploded, the crowds have been enormous."

Children have come in droves this Halloween with one thing in mind.

Principal of Cloverdale Elementary School Aneta Walker said, "They are wide eyed and excited and on a mission to find the best pumpkin."

Competition is stiff when you're competing with hundreds of other children to find the perfect match, but some of these kids manage to make their dreams come true.

Kindergartner Kayla Furr said, "This one was big, so I picked it up, and this was my best pumpkin in the world."

Kindergartner Brunson Hall said, "I found the perfect pumpkin and when I get home, mom and I are going to make pumpkin pie with it."

Although the farm provides plenty of activities, including a corn maze and free sunflowers, all it took for some little visitors was nature to bring out their excitement.

A ladybug peaked their interest and sent a group of girls into squeals and giggles.

While pumpkins are big business right now, it's the variety of vegetables they sell that allows the Aplin’s to stay in business.

Aplin said, “For the whole season the vegetable business locally has picked up as people find out they can buy fresh, local stuff."

This year's season was the busiest yet for the Aplin’s with more than 7 thousand people visiting the farm.

This year a lot of private schools visited the farm.

Usually about 20,000 students from public schools visit, but because of rising fuel costs field trips were kept to a minimum.

Nonetheless, this was the busiest season the Aplin’s have ever had.

Aplin Farms will be open today until 9 p.m. and then will close its doors tomorrow at 9 p.m. for the season.

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