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Central Coast pumpkin patches open with coronavirus precautions

Angel Russell
Avila Valley Barn welcomes visitors for the fall season.

As an outdoor activity, Central Coast pumpkin patches are able to welcome visitors over the next month. 

Jennifer Bennett, an Atascadero mother of two, was one of the first customers at Avila Valley Barn Monday morning. 

“I’m a stay-at-home mom," Bennett said. "Being home with these two all the time has been really hard without being able to take them to do anything.”

She’s excited the pumpkin patch—along with the goats, cows and chickens to visit and feed—are open.  

“It’s nice that it’s outside because then you’re not really worried about getting too close to other people," Bennett said. "You can keep your distance.”

Avila Valley Barn Manager Raven Lukehart says due to COVID-19, the attraction is limiting how many people can be inside the fruit stand and on premise at one time. During the weekends, guests can expect to wait in a line. 

Everyone two and older will need to wear a mask. This year attractions such as the hay and pony ride have been closed due to pandemic restrictions, but feeding the animals and picking pumpkins are still part of the fun seven days of the week. 

“I definitely suggest if you are a local, come in Monday through Thursday," Bennett said. "Even Friday mornings and you won't have to wait in line for pretty much anything.”

In the Santa Ynez Valley, the area’s annual Scarecrow Fest is one of the few events able to continue as planned this year. Steve Jacobson, owner of the Solvang Farmer Pumpkin Patch, says the farm’s ten-acre corn maze is open, and they’ve expanded the pathways for more social distancing. 

“We’ve spaced our pumpkins out further apart this year when we lay them out so people aren’t rubbing up into one another and we ask that bigger groups try to stay to themselves,”Jacobson said. 

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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