By Adianna Bermudez

Carrie Schnepf knows her community needs fresh country air and a little bit of fun.

“I thought, a couple months ago, as far as COVID-19 goes, things were on the up and up,” Schnepf says. “But there is still a lot of concern out there, so whatever we can do to ease those concerns and let people enjoy the farm is the most important thing for us.”

Schnepf Farms is hosting its annual Pumpkin and Chili Party from Thursday, October 1, to Sunday, November 1. Visitors can pick pumpkins, eat food and play games at the farm in Queen Creek.

“We want visitors to enjoy the farm without feeling stressed,” Schnepf says.

Schnepf Farms has taken precautions to ensure all visitors are safe while they participate in activities. These include limited attendance, hand sanitizer stations, social distancing and mask requirements.

All rides and all frequently touched surfaces will be sanitized daily. Schnepf says that “as much as you can sanitize dirt” they will.

“We really are taking it a step up,” she says.

Schnepf urges everyone to purchase their tickets online so the farm can better manage attendance.

Masks are required on Grandparents Morning on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is to cater to those who have underlying health conditions, Schnepf says.

Masks are required when social distancing is not possible, such as on the hayride and in food lines. Schnepf says limited capacity will shorten the food and ride lines significantly.

“We’re looking forward to our attendance dropping 35% to what we usually get,” Schnepf says.

Rides include the Hyper Loop, the Flying Farmer Ride and the Honeybee Adventure.

At the Main Food Grill, visitors can try the farm’s famous chili and chicken dinners or the farm favorite succotash. For dessert, visitors can try the funnel cakes and pies.

Visitors are encouraged to preorder their food to prevent long lines. There will be additional food service areas as well. All seating will be distanced 6 feet apart.

To better accommodate everyone during the pandemic, the farm is offering curbside pickup for food orders.

“We’re looking to give the public an incredible experience during this time,” she says.

The bakery and U-Pick garden are open to the public and will continue to be throughout the rest of the year.

Drive-in movies will continue every Friday and Saturday night throughout October.

“We appreciate all the support,” Schnepf says. “We are seeing things move forward, which is a huge thing for everyone in the entire Valley.”