A combination of Little M’s age, the weather and carving my first ever pumpkin myself probably all contributed to Farmer Compleys Pupkin Festival being one of the best family days out we have enjoyed together.
Arriving early (10ish) was a good start! We were one of the first to arrive, which on a day which just seemed to get busier and busier gave us the opportunity to investigate and get stuck in with ease, but then also enjoy the atmosphere as the crowds arrived.
We started the day pushing M around in a wheel barrow (which itself was enough excitement for him), before an increasingly competitive search for three of the best pumpkins was initiated. I searched for the biggest, Mrs M found the “perfect pumpkin” and Little M was given a small healthy looking one.
Wondering the fields was broken up by the large green tractor and trailer which ran up and down one side of the field, which Little M pointed at each time it went past, followed by a smaller mini tractor train which drifted through the field and around the outskirts of Farmer Copley’s.
Slowly drifting is what it looked like anyway, until i stepped in the back trailer of this train-tractor and realised there was no harness or straps, there was simply gravity and my balance countering the momentum of the cornering bullet. Perhaps my parental naivety was showing when i happily put myself and my only child into a speeding vehicle driven by a teenage youth!
Well Little M loved it and i must admit the slight sense of danger was quite a thrill for me as well. I soon realised after getting off, that all that has happened in the last 18 months is that my evaluation of danger has become completely confused as the ‘bullet-train’ pulled away at the speed of a milk-float with grandmothers and toddlers all looking significantly more comfortable with the sensible and diligent driver than i had been.
After the hedonistic experience of tootling round a field at 2-3mph, i was ready to sit down and recover, so we purchased our three Pumpkins and a calving set before heading into the undercover designated calving area. As i slowly sound older and older, i must say the signage, ease of navigation and helpfulness of the staff here (there were some in Halloween fancy dress) really did take the stress out of the day and add to the experience.
In the tent, there was a professional pumpkin designer (if such a thing exists), who was simply creating art, which at that stage, i believed to be an achievable benchmark. There was a creepy crawly area, where you could pay a pound to hold a terrifying spider or equivalently terrifying snake, followed my a team of talented face painters.
So as a first time pumpkin ‘artist’, I was quickly given a breakdown from Mrs M on how to use the various utensils and how the blindingly sharp knives and apparatus, a giant pumpkin and a 18 month year old were clearly not going to play well with my aspirational castle design.
Very quickly it became apparent that none of us had the patience to do all three at the same time and that Mrs M was getting hungry. So, we started with the medium pumpkin and created our masterpiece. M enjoyed scooping out the seeds and putting them into the bin, whilst i enjoyed hiding the knife and moving the bin to try and catch his seeds.
It didn’t take long and we had done it, as a family, we had created our first ever decorated pumpkin, so off we went to the Moo Cafe for a celebratory lunch. The restaurant was understandably very busy and soon an outdoor catering area opened to take some of the strain from the eatery, but there was a queue and a wait in getting our food, which the littlest of our entourage found frustrating, but some crayons kept us ticking over until the food and drinks arrived.
The food was lovely, but the countdown for afternoon naptime was on and after the wait patience was running low, so it was a bit rushed, but we soon ate up and went back to explore the now buzzing outdoor space.
A final casual walk around completed a lovely morning and early afternoon. It will definitely be added to our things to do list for next year and also led to a bit of family baking!
Pumkins, Tractors, Costumes & a Great Atmosphere
This was one of the most enjoyable family adventures to date. It had something for everyone of all ages and will no doubt become an annual tradition.
Its also the trip that keeps on giving… we made pumpkin cake, pumpkin risotto, planted seeds and also calved pumpkins at home!