By Joanna Bastian
Always ahead of the game, us lower valley folks have been ready for fall for months. We even decorated early for Halloween this year — everything has been orange and black since mid-July.
The trees that shut down all growth during the fire as an act of survival today blend in with the trees that are naturally turning in for their seasonal slumber. Instead of a damp ashtray smell, the air now holds a crisp and earthy scent of organic decay, just as it should right before the world falls into winter repose.
The deep, heady scent of autumn evokes nostalgic thoughts of hayrides, popcorn balls, giant leaf piles, horror movies, silly costumes and flavorful autumn stews baked in the shell of a pretty squash. Fall is time for freshly pressed apple cider, an unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage. It is thicker and far tastier than apple juice. And of course, autumn’s best tradition is staying up all night in the pumpkin patch, with Linus and his blanket, waiting for the Great Pumpkin.
This year, the Great Pumpkins are once again lining the Walker Windmill Farm fence along Highway 153 at the northern corner of Gold Creek Loop. Gary Walker and Patty Barker, the owners of Walker Windmill Farm, love this colorful time of year so much that they invite everyone to their seasonal family event, the Kids’ Pumpkin Fest.
The fifth annual Kids’ Pumpkin Fest will be on Oct. 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Everyone is invited to this free, fun-filled party on Gary and Patty’s beautiful farm.
Kids (and young-at-heart adults) can play games for prizes, get their faces painted, and pick their own pumpkin from the large pumpkin patch in a meticulous English style garden. There will be hayrides, sing-alongs and even a hay crawl: kids can climb up hay bales and slide down a giant tube. Kids also can pet the adorable baby goats and press apples for fresh apple cider.
Coffee, popcorn and snacks will be available for purchase at the Country Store, along with unique handcrafted gifts, including artisan jewelry and home decor. The Country Store will have a wide selection of fall harvest vegetables, all organically grown in Gary’s idyllic garden. While the kids are celebrating autumn by painting pumpkins and climbing hay bales, the adults can celebrate the harvest season by perusing over fall vegetables like onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, a variety of squashes and more. Some of the squashes are just pure art right off the vine; they have a personality of their own.
Gary and Patty have been planning the Kids’ Pumpkin Fest all year long — so come on down and join the fun. From Twisp, take the Twisp-Carlton road south to Highway 153. Just three miles down river from the Carlton General Store, follow the Great Pumpkins to the annual Kids’ Pumpkin Fest, at the north corner of Gold Creek Loop road.