How is the pandemic affecting Central Oregon’s fall traditions?
Ayla Adkins/The Broadside
2020 has been turned upside down by COVID-19. Central Oregon has been lucky not to have been as severely affected as other parts of the state but, that doesn’t mean there have not been sacrifices and changes made this year. Some of those changes include the much-beloved trips to the pumpkin patch every autumn.
The McIntosh family, owners of Lazy M Ranch, help out and run the wagon rides at the Smith Rock Ranch pumpkin patch each year. A couple of family members answered some questions to let Central Oregonians know what they can expect this fall at the pumpkin patch.
The biggest question is, will the pumpkin patch cancel events this year due to COVID-19? The answer might surprise you, Joanna McIntosh, a family member of the family-owned Lazy M Ranch, provided some answers:
“I don’t think any of the activities are closed at the pumpkin patch, but one thing that has changed this year is you have to purchase tickets online,” McIntosh said. “They are not selling tickets at the pumpkin patch. The tickets are also only valid for a two hour period of time, and the number of people is limited as well. Guests can still buy pumpkins and other items from the market as they would any other year”.
Another alteration to this year’s pumpkin patch is the very classic wagon ride.
McIntosh said, “We are having slight financial disadvantages because we cannot put as many people on the wagon like we have in the past.” However, slight the disadvantages, it still shows how the pandemic has influenced even the most basic things our community participates in.”
However, this does not mean that the pumpkin patch will not alter or completely reverse their decision as the season progresses—but there still is hope for students who cannot get enough of this autumn tradition.
For those of you in the community who do not feel comfortable adventuring out to the Smith Rock Ranch pumpkin patch this year due to the pandemic, Ashley McIntosh shared some of her favorite fall activities with us in hope that anyone could still celebrate the season, “Some of my favorite fall activities include carving pumpkins and putting them in my front yard and getting nice warm coffee on cold fall days”. A few other options could be making homemade apple cider with the family, baking some new fall-themed treats, and perhaps going on some scenic walks and hikes within the Central Oregon area.
Although the pumpkin patch is a tradition for many, that doesn’t mean that the season can no longer be filled with joy. Traditions change and adapt over time and perhaps this autumn, some individuals in the community will create their own brand new traditions.