Thursday, February 29, 2024

Pumpkins galore

The Haberman family live and breathe autumn entertainment at their family-operated Oak View Nursery Pumpkin Patch. A visit to Oak View Nursery Pumpkin Patch is more than just picking out the perfect pumpkin.

Between choosing the perfect pumpkin to take home and over thirty autumnal activities, many families spend a full day at the patch. That quality family time is what inspired the Oak View Nursery Pumpkin Patch eight years ago. 

“Dan and I got into this as parents ourselves,” said Katie Haberman. “Our kids enjoyed the pumpkins, and we thought let’s have people here!” Dan and Katie run the nursery and pumpkin patch with their two kids Ryan (ninth grade) and Abby (11th grade). They also get a lot of help from family and friends.

This year marks the eighth year of the pumpkin patch. It started out pretty simple, including the pumpkins and a few games. Over the years, the Habermans have added more entertainment. What started as an opportunity to pick a few pumpkins and play a few simple yard games turned into a fall entertainment hot-spot. 

The family now offers over thirty different activities at the pumpkin patch. For an admission fee of $9, one can spend the whole day exploring their autumnal wonderland. 

Activities include a corn maze, giant slide, petting zoo, bounce house, kiddie train ride, Jacob’s ladder, corn box, trike trail, indoor maze, games, agriculture learning zone and mini golf. There is also a patio with a bon fire. “We try to offer activities for all age levels,” said Katie. 

Not to mention, the entertainment space has multiple photo backdrops and face-in-the-hole opportunities. For an extra cost, one can participate in RC race track, paint ball, face painting and pumpkin painting.

Every hour or so, the Habermans offer a hay ride through what Dan called “untouched land.” After driving the hay ride, Dan said with a grin “Isn’t that just the most beautiful hay ride?” 

Corrina Schuller of New Richland brought her niece and nephew Gabby and Dakota Schlaak to Oak View Nursery Pumpkin Patch. They enjoyed the hay ride and picking out a few pumpkins to carve closer to Halloween. Gabby and Dakota particularly enjoyed the bouncy house and slide. 

“It’s just good old fashioned family fun here, and that is what we love to see, a good old time,” said Katie. “People tell us that they come back every year. It has become a part of families’ traditions, and we love that! It’s just that people get so busy with their everyday business and schedules.”

The pumpkin patch has also been a popular destination for birthday parties, as they usually have 10 to 20 birthday parties in the five week period that the patch is open. They have an area designated for the birthday party to have a cake and open presents that is private from the rest of the nursery happenings. 

Dan and son Ryan handmade much of the activities and structures on the land. One of their favorite entertainment pieces include the pumpkin launch. When Ryan decided that he wants to make a trebuchet catapult for his 4-H project, Dan was all in. The catapult won a ribbon. 

The catapult turned into a pumpkin catapult. Each weekend, pumpkins are launched into a field from the catapult, a sight that brings all visitors to the speculation area. Dan said that the catapult can shoot a pumpkin up to 200 feet away. The catapult and most other structures on the land are handmade by Dan and Ryan. 

Ryan said that he has enjoyed growing up with Oak View Nursery in his family’s yard. He and his sister Abby work the weekends that the pumpkin patch is open. 

“I like seeing the kids’ faces when they are so happy. It’s cool to hear people say that they have been here before and came back,” he said. “I learn a lot of different skills here. It taught me how to talk with people more.”

Abby has also enjoyed growing up with the pumpkin patch, and she admits that fall is her favorite season. “I just love all the colors, you know, all of the earthy colors,” she said “People like fall, and we have the perfect fall atmosphere.” 

She has been more inclined to help with the decorating, which is a big aspect of the nursery as well. 

“Well, it’s fun! I like watching families having fun together and know that you had a part in that,” she said. “It’s been fun to see how we’ve grown. It started with pumpkins and a pile of leaves for kids to jump in. It has definitely grown!” 

While Abby has plans to attend school in a medical program, Ryan is more inclined to work with his hands. He said that he would like to do something “like this” as he looked around the entertainment area of the pumpkin patch.

The four members of the Haberman family were described as “four giant kids” by Jodi Erickson. She helps out the family for the five weekends of the year that the patch is open. “They are amazing! I love working here,” she said. “It’s a blast!”

As for the future of the patch, Katie and Dan are just keeping up with the demand. In the off season of the pumpkin patch (anytime besides late Sept. and Oct.), they have begun to offer their land and barn space for weddings and wedding receptions. 

“We string lights up in the barn, and people can decorate as they wish,” she said “It just looks so beautiful. It is pretty limitless as to what we can do.” The barn fits about 200 people, and outdoor receptions have taken place on their land. 

Of course in spring, the Oak View Nursery garden center is the main focus. The nursery has hosted school groups looking for a hands-on learning experience about how plants grow. 

During pumpkin season, however, the family is focused on providing the community with a safe and fun day to celebrate the season. 

The pumpkin Patch is open from the last weekend of September to the last weekend of Oct. The patch is only open on Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oak View Nursery Pumpkin Patch is located at 7921 County Hwy 45, Owatonna.

Dodge County Independent

Dodge County Independent
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301 S. Mantorville Ave.
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Kasson, MN 55944

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301 S. Mantorville Ave.
Plaza 57 • Suite 200
Kasson, MN 55944

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