Shadows of the pandemic still loom over fall festivals

The hayrides are rolling and the air smells like donuts! The pandemic is still affecting business at Fleitz Pumpkin Farm, but not how it did last year.
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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OREGON, Ohio (WTVG) - The COVID-19 pandemic and inflated prices have rocked businesses since last year, and Fleitz Pumpkin Farm is no exception. But, the owners tell 13abc it’s still been a strong start to the 2021 season.

Trisha Truman’s family owns and operates Fleitz Pumpkin Farm in Oregon. She said last year, they were filled to the brim with visitors who were eager to get out of the house. She tells 13abc that this year looks more like 2019.

“We haven’t been as busy as last year,” she says. “And in a lot of ways, it’s okay, because it was a little overwhelming and wild last year.”

But COVID isn’t the only challenge Fleitz has faced.

Truman explains, “We did not have a great wheat crop this year, it rained on our straw, and rained and rained. And it was pretty rough.”

She warns that you’ll see some changes this year. One of those: a $5 cost for the kids’ play area. She says in past years, teenagers and too many kids would make the space too rowdy. “It just wasn’t a safe place. So, this just kind of makes sure that the only people in that space are small kids and their grownups,” explains Truman.

She says COVID-19 prevention was also a factor in weeding out the extra people in the play area. But she also blames pandemic-related inflation. Costs for things like hayrides and the corn maze are still the same. In fact, Truman says that those prices haven’t changed in 35 years. But, along with the play area cost, owners of the farm had to raise donut prices to combat supply cost surges. She explains, “Our donut supplies, our packaging, our boxes. Everything went way up, it was shocking for us. Last year, they didn’t.”

Other post-COVID practices like online ordering and contactless pick-up are still in place this year.

You can find more information on the Fleitz Pumpkin Farm Facebook page.

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