HINCKLEY – Wayne and Allison Parkes of Aurora were looking for something to do last weekend when her mother saw a notice on Facebook about a Fall Family Fun Festival at Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce in rural Hinckley.
“We thought it sounded like a fun family outing,” Allison Parkes said. She and her husband, Wayne, drove over with their three children, Quinten, 1, Tyler, 3, and Kaelyn, 7.
The three-day festival was a first at the farm, owner Jeff Wielert said.
“We always wanted to do some kind of festival or something,” he said.
After spending 15 years as a youth minister, Wielert said his parents, Allan and Bette Wielert, invited him to come back to the family farm three years ago. Since he has a degree in horticulture, he decided to take them up on the offer. With more than 10 acres of sweet corn and 10 acres of vegetables and pumpkins, the four-generation family farm raises a variety of produce.
Jeff Wielert said produce is sold on the honor system at a roadside stand where people pay by dropping off the appropriate amount in a cardboard box. The roadside stand will be open through Christmas.
At the festival, which ran Saturday through Monday, pumpkins and gourds were joined by other harvest-season produce, like apples and squash. To put everyone in the Halloween mood, there was a scary pumpkin walk through a haunted forest and a haunted cemetery. Visitors were greeted by Matilda the Friendly Witch, who handed out free hot cider and popcorn.
“It was a very nice way to spend the afternoon together,” Wayne Parkes said as he packed up the family vehicle with small pumpkins, squash, corn and peach salsa.