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Rombachs Farm closes for 2017

By: Brian Flinchpaugh

Pumpkins growing at Thies Farm. [Photo courtesy of Thies Farm]

Rombachs Farm and Pumpkin Patch announced July 15 that it would be closed this year. The pumpkin patch and other activities at the farm at 18639 Olive Street Road have been a long-time family tradition in Chesterfield.

But it seems that another patch will spring up in the Chesterfield Valley come September. Libbey M. Tucker, Chesterfield’s assistant city administrator, announced via email on July 17 that a new pumpkin patch was opening “nearly next door” to Rombachs Farm.

Betty Miller, who previously worked at Rombachs Farm as an activities coordinator, will open Chesterfield Valley Pumpkin Patch on a little over nine acres of leased land less than a mile away from Rombachs Farm. That operation will be open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sept. 23 through Oct. 31, and feature enhanced children’s activities on Saturdays and Sundays, according to spokesperson Gretchen Thal.

Adults can expect a beer and wine garden, food from Kenrick Catering and pies for sale from the Blue Owl restaurant in Kimmswick, Missouri. A market featuring produce, honey and decorating items also will be for sale, Thal said.

Admission is free but the weekend children’s activities will cost $18 per child. Those activities will include pony and hay rides, face painting, a playground, sand box and sand art, a balloon artist, hayrides, inflatables, temporary tattoos and face painting.

Pumpkins are the obvious attraction and Thal said “some have been planted at the site and are already in the ground and growing.” Others will be trucked in from farms within the region.

Thal said public response will determine if the patch lasts longer than just this year. “In the last couple of days, our Facebook site has seen increased activity, it’s very promising,” Thal said. “You can’t please everybody but most people seem to be very happy and excited about it. Coming back next year is definitely our goal.”

Meanwhile, one long-time favorite will remain open.

Thies Farm & Greenhouses will have pumpkin patch activities for children and adults at two of its locations in St. Louis County.

Thies Farm has produced and sold produce in the St. Louis area since 1885 and has three locations – a Maryland Heights facility at 14101 Creve Coeur Airport Road, another at 4215 Hanley Road near Interstate 70, and a third location at 3200 Greens Bottom Road in St. Charles County.

Its Pumpkinland has been a feature at the Maryland Heights location for more than 20 years, according to Fran Thies, who manages the Thies location in St. Charles County. General admission – $7.50 for children and $4.75 for adults at the Maryland Heights location – includes the Pumpkinland play area, corn maze, a wagon ride, petting zoo, activity book and a small pumpkin for each child. Weekend activities, including pony rides and a corn cannon, are available for an extra fee. Pumpkinland is open Tuesday-Sunday, Sept. 30 through Oct. 31.

“We have no plans to do anything different,” Thies said, of the 2017 season, though a full Pumpkinland is in the cards for the St. Charles County location.

For this year, Thies said there would be more of an “October presence than ever before with displays and some children’s activities” at the St. Charles location but not a full Pumpkinland.

“Our whole idea is that Maryland Heights will soon close because of development pending over there so that operation will move to this side or the river,” Thies said of St. Charles.

However, moving operations will depend on how development proceeds in the floodplain. “The minute they decide to develop we would be out of here. That’s why we chose this location [St. Charles County] to move the business over here when that time came.”

Brookdale Farms Inc., located at 8004 Twin Rivers Road in Eureka, also will be offering pumpkin patch activities beginning Sept. 18. In addition to a kid-friendly petting zoo, children’s zip line, bounce houses and slides, cow train, hay rides and live music on Sundays, Brookdale Farms is home to a 100-plus acre “haunted” corn maze.

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