(The following article is posted with permission from writer Kaisha Jantsch)
Local Farm and Greenhouse Celebrates Autumn with Annual Fall Fest
By Kaisha Jantsch
In an effort to delay seasonal layoffs while providing the public with the opportunity to engage in seasonal sensations, Bedner Farm and Greenhouse has brought back its annual Fall Fest.
The Fall Fest is a month-long celebration of changing leaves and temperatures, that offers friends and families the opportunity to engage in typical fall fun including picking a pumpkin from the patch, and navigating fields full of mazed-corn.
“It helps us to keep our employees,” says the Director of Marketing at Bedner Farm and Greenhouse, Malanie Bedner, who is also the wife of the farm’s Co-owner, Russ Bedner. She explains, “We don’t do Christmas, so…we still have to lay our employees off, but at least…[the Fall Fest] keeps us [and our employees]…going until the end of October.”
Before implementing the Fall Fest, there was nothing to sustain the Bedner crew—the selling season, and the employee’s paychecks, ended with summer. That’s because, as Melanie Bedner notes, spring is the business’s most profitable time of year, and after it passes, so do the profits. “There’s always been greenhouses here,” she says, “…so [around springtime] we’ve sold a lot of annuals and hanging baskets,…[but] then it slows down in the summer.” And, up until about ten years ago, after business slowed, the farm and greenhouse shut down until the growing season began again in January. That meant Bedner employees were out of a job for almost four months of the year. But no longer. Nearly a decade ago, Bedner Farm and Greenhouse realized the opportunity it had, as a farm, to offer the individuals in its community a chance to either begin or continue their autumn traditions of visiting the pumpkin patch and spending time with family—something that would benefit the farm and its employees, as well as its visitors. And it’s visitors come from all over.
Though the farm is located in McDonald, Pennsylvania (Washington County, PA), Amber Musser, her husband, and her two young daughters, came all the way from Wheeling, West Virginia to partake in the Bedner Farm and Greenhouse fall festivities. “It’s fantastic. We love it,” she said in an interview. “The face painting is great for the girls, and the little hay maze was actually really sweet for them [too].”
The balloon artist at this year’s Fall Fest, Robin Lipp, who has been working the event for two years now, agrees that it’s a great event for children. “…[U]sually we get a lot of kids in here that like the balloons,” she said, “and they like the face painting over there, hay rides, and everything.” Though the Bedner Fall Fest does feature hay rides to the pumpkin patch, face-painting, a balloon artist, a two-acre corn maze, a mini-corn maze, a zipline, a pumpkin launch, and live music by local accordionist and news personality, Pat Septak, when asked what her favorite part of the Fall Fest was, four-year old Lexi Musser, the eldest of Amber Musser’s two daughters, said her favorite part was the flowers on display in the greenhouse.
Lost in the beauty, fun, flora, and fauna that Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse provides at its Fall Fest, it is easy to forget about the people that make it possible and depend on its success. So, when deciding to visit Bedner’s Fall Fest, or any local farm’s autumn activities, whether it be to marvel the simplest of enchantments, like the last of summer’s Snapdragons, or to get lost in the most complex, like acres of corn, remember, the price of visiting the patch, pays for a whole lot more than a pumpkin.
Bedner’s Fall Fest runs every weekend from now until Halloween, and operates from 11am-5pm each of those days, with the exception of Columbus Day where it will operate from 12pm-4pm. See www.bednersgreenhouse.com for more information.