Uncle Bill’s popular pumpkin season

Just one of the luscious pumpkins available to pick at Uncle Bill’s pumpkin patch. Photo by John Brady.

Just one of the luscious pumpkins available to pick at Uncle Bill’s pumpkin patch. Photo by John Brady.

Uncle Bill’s Farm is now open for its 23rd annual Pumpkin Season. Located right off of I-80 on 400th Ave., the farm hosts a number of attractions to ensure visitors of all ages fall in love with fall.

“It’s like having a sandbox in your yard. It’s fun to play by yourself, but it’s a whole lot more fun to enjoy all together,” said owner Bill Owen on welcoming guests to his farm for the season, which ends Oct. 30.

Not only can visitors enjoy a 10-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch with wagon rides provided to transport guests to and from the field, but the farm also features a farm animal zoo, complete with goats, chickens and peacocks. And pumpkins are only 49 cents per pound.

Other highlights include a corn maze, greenhouse, giant trampoline-like pillow known as the Big Orange Pillow and the Kid Kow train, an attraction where children can ride on train cars decorated as cows. On weekdays, visitors can try their hands at the wheelbarrow obstacle course. Seasonal treasures can be purchased at the gift shop.

Guests can also grab a bite at Uncle Bill’s on-location restaurant, Uncle Bill’s Feed Bag Restaurant. New this year at the restaurant are cappuccinos, and visitors can refuel on autumnal food staples including caramel apples, homemade pumpkin pie made from Uncle Bill’s pumpkins and kettle corn.

“Now most of my friends have grandkids, and this is a way for me to hang out with them and their kids and spoil them and send them home,” Owen said.

Unsurprisingly, Uncle Bill’s draws a big hometown crowd during Pumpkin Season, but local families are not the only ones enjoying all the farm has to offer. Owen noted that many of his customers travel from as far away as Des Moines.

“We expect to have between 20,000 and 24,000 people in the next six weeks. There’s only about 10,000 people in Grinnell, so at least half of our customers are from out of town,” Owen said.

Following Pumpkin Season, Owen will spread holiday cheer of a different kind.

“After things wind down here by the end of November, I work as a professional Santa Claus. I’m hired out around the state for private events or as a town Santa Claus,” Owen said. “It’s like I don’t have to grow up. Santa still lives.”

The inside of Uncle Bill’s Feed Bag Restaurant. Photo by John Brady.

The inside of Uncle Bill’s Feed Bag Restaurant. Photo by John Brady.

Uncle Bill’s is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. Pumpkin Season will last until October 30. Admission to the farm is seven dollars on weekdays and 10 dollars on weekends, although students in a large group may call ahead and make a reservation for discounted prices.

Interested visitors can check out all of Uncle Bill’s farm attractions at www.unclebillsfarm.com.