Southern Ill. pumpkin patch ready for 2021 season

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:45 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT
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JOHNSTON CITY, Ill. (KFVS) - One southern Illinois pumpkin grower started their season ready to make up for the one they lost to COVID-19 last year.

The Bandy family’s marked its 35th year inviting visitors out to kick off the fall season in Johnston City.

“We are hoping to have really good turnout this year,” said owner Kelly Bandy.

She had high hopes for the 2021 season at her family’s pumpkin farm.

Her husband Troy said they’ve put in a lot of effort to get to this point.

“We plant 90-day crops and we plant 120-day crops. That way we have stuff ready at the beginning of the year and we have stuff getting ripe about mid-way through October so we can replenish what gets sold,” explained Troy Bandy.

Kelly said having to close last year due to the pandemic was upsetting, but they understood why.

“We had been here for 34 years at the time and we have never closed, ever. So, but we didn’t want to be part of the problem,” she said.

With time on their hands, the Bandys made some major changes out on the pumpkin patch.

“We’ve added new buildings, we’ve expanded our gift shop, we have a new concession stand, we have a community fire pit this year. We also have a accessible wheelchair hay ride,” she said.

Troy said they expect 20 to 25,000 pumpkins this year. And instead of the latest farming equipment, the Bandy’s are old school.

“We have a specially modified, 1940s corn planter that we use. It actually has to have a couple of people riding on it, to keep things moving so it’s a big process it’s fairly time consuming,” said Troy Bandy.

The Bandy Pumpkin Patch opened Saturday and crowds did not disappoint, they said.

“It was a record-breaking turnout for us personally as a business,” said Kelly Bandy.

The Bandys say they’re staying open until 8 o’clock during the week in hopes of attracting folks after work.

On the weekends, the Bandy’s Pumpkin patch is staying open until 10 p.m.

The last day of business, appropriately enough, is October 31.

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