Stevens Gardens continues fall tradition in the COVID-19 era

Popular Monclova attraction to have added safety checks this year
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 7:05 PM EDT
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MONCLOVA, Ohio (WTVG) - Pumpkin patches and corn mazes are a sure sign of fall, though many local seasonal attractions have had to make adjustments this year, from Wheeler Farms in Whitehouse to Sauder Village’s Apple Week.

The family-operated farm at Stevens Gardens in Monclova has proven no exception. Visiting the grounds is a tradition for many when the leaves begin to turn, though some highlights have had to hit the hay for now.

“Our hayride is going to be only one family/group at a time,” says co-owner Debbie Stevens-Laux. “Normally, we would just have people line up to get on, but this year, we’re keeping everybody separate. We’ve also not done an indoor straw maze this year. It’s kind of impossible to keep kids socially distant once they’re in there, so that just kind of got eliminated this year.”

Tents have been set up for separate groups, and there’s no more wandering through the fruit/vegetable stand out front -- though some things haven’t changed much.

“Our cow train will still be operating, and it will be sprayed down with a safe sanitizer after each use,” says Stevens-Laux. “The corn maze is operating as usual. It’s a little more intricate than before, but still very family-friendly.”

They’ll even have a “corn cannon” to vent all the frustration this year has brought, described as “an air cannon that shoots ears of corn at targets in the field.”

For more conventional fare, some new arrivals at the petting zoo are always up for a good pat and/or headbutt -- and the variety of fall colors by the roadside remains a constant.

“The pumpkins did wonderfully this year,” Stevens-Laux says, “and so did all of the other specialty crops here, so we have plenty of fall items to choose from. We’ve actually had quite a turnout early in the season -- lots of people buying their pumpkins early, which is fine with us.”

If the gigantic gourds up front aren’t your style, you can always try your hand at the U-Pick patch. The fall festivities kick off at Stevens Gardens this weekend. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

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