SIDNEY, Ohio (WDTN) – Just because COVID-19 hasn’t gone away doesn’t mean fall has, and Miami Valley farms are getting creative to keep the cool-weather kids’ activities going this holiday season.
Farm market manager at Crossway Farms, Courtney Diltz, said they’ve had to get rid of a handful of activities families would typically expect to see in the fall.
“We did get rid of our hayrides this year as well as just a few of our kids’ activities that were really high contact.”
She said for the most part, customers were understanding of the changes, but the farm plans to substitute some of its more traditional activities for ones that can be done following social distancing guidelines.
“We do still have our 15 acre ‘u-pick’ pumpkin patch. They can go out and find the perfect pumpkin. We do have a 35 acre sunflower field. There’s a maze, a photo field. They can go pick their own sunflowers and then we have the scavenger hunt as well.”
Other farms and apple orchards in the area are still offering hands on fall festivities as well. Establishments including Monnin’s Fruit Farm, Fulton’s Farm, and Pendleton’s Produce are continuing to offer pumpkins and a variety of other fruits and activities for local families.
Diltz added luckily, the new changes haven’t severely impacted the farm’s bottom line, with more people visiting the pumpkin patch this year than in year’s past.
“I think a lot of it is just because of a push for supporting local businesses, as well as everyone’s kind of been cooped up in their house the last couple months because of COVID and they want to get out and do something outside.”
For those worried about gathering in public spaces, Diltz said management at the farm has consulted with local health officials about ways to keep visitors safe, including sanitizing wagons and encouraging wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
Center for Disease Control guidelines recommend that those who do spend time with others outside of their household should be frequently washing their hands, keeping a safe distance from others, and avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth.