Photo: Both kids and adults who visit PéPé’s Pumpkin Patch enjoy having their face painted. Photo courtesy of Greg Rocheleau.
“Leaves Falling, Autumn Calling” Family Fun Starts Now!
Fall is a fun time for family outings across Windsor Essex. From cozy traditions like apple picking to spooky-themed jaunts leading up to Halloween, locals will discover there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate this colourful season!
Read on to learn more about some of the festivities going on throughout the region during the month of October, as Biz X profiles just a handful of local businesses offering fall and Halloween experiences for the whole family.
Keeping It All In The Family
Nothing quite matches the fall feeling you get when apple picking.
“The air is crisp, our apples are fresh and our spirits are high,” says Andrew Thiessen, Owner of Thiessen Orchards. “We love October on the farm!”
Located at 400 Talbot Road East in Leamington, Thiessen Orchards (ThiessenOrchards.com) has been open since 1975, but the Thiessen family has been in the community since 1940 operating greenhouses and a tobacco farm.
“We have had the honour of becoming a tradition for families for 40 plus years,” states Thiessen. “We have so many people come up to us each and every year telling us how they used to come as kids and are now bringing their own children and grandchildren each year. We love being a part of families’ memories!”
Thiessen Orchards is a 20-acre orchard, which grows nine different varieties of mouth-watering apples.
“Not only do we have apples, but we also offer our customers a five-acre pumpkin patch where they can find the perfect pumpkin,” adds Thiessen.
Their hope is that every customer who steps onto the property has a “farmtastic experience,” describes Thiessen. “Take a wagon ride through our orchard (available on weekends); try to solve our interactive corn maze; play a round of ‘Farmer Pete’s Putt-Putt’ then visit our farm friends — goats, piggies and bunnies. Let the little ones play in ‘Farmer Pete’s Fun Acre’ full of climbing areas, farm equipment, swings, a bouncy castle, and barrel trains, available on weekends and PA days.”
Then, once you’ve worked up an appetite, he suggests a visit to their Kountry Kitchen where it’s a must to have one of their famous Mennonite sausages on a bun, a caramel apple, or a slice of homemade apple pie.
“And of course, pick a bag of the freshest apples you can get,” Thiessen exclaims.
Open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. until October 28, all activities are $5 each or pick any three for $10. Kids aged two and under are free.
A “Play All Day” Combo Pass is $20 and includes access to the fun acre, corn maze, mini golf, haunted barn, one cone of goat food, and the jump pad. A “Seasonal Pass” with unlimited use of all activities is $30.
Special activities are scheduled for each weekend in October including Thanksgiving, featuring live entertainment.“Sunday, October 14 we will be celebrating first responders and their families where they will receive ‘All Day Passes’ as a thank you for everything they do for all of us,” states Thiessen. “And of course we are continuing with our annual ‘Halloween Extravaganza,’ which will be held on October 20. ‘All Day Passes’ on this day will only be $15. Dress in your costume and come do some trick or treating.”
“It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”
Whether it’s for decorating your porch, balcony, stairs or deck — or you’re looking for one to carve a spooky jack-o-lantern — we are sure the gang from Peanuts and your family too will find a huge variety of classic orange and trendy white pumpkins at PéPé’s Pumpkin Patch.
Located at 2651 Front Road in LaSalle, PéPé’s (Facebook.com/pepespumpkinpatch) has a wide selection of gourds, straw, hay, corn stalks, mums and more, all great for creating a festive fall look for your home.
Greg Rocheleau, who owns the business with his father, Roger, and brother, James, says that on weekdays throughout the month of October, they’re kept very busy with students — with two field trip visits per day.
“We have a hay ride, a train ride, face painting, a corn maze and then we have a village kids can play in with character houses and buildings,” describes Rocheleau, adding they also have a store with refreshments, including candy apples.
Their haunted house, called the “7th Chamber,” is open for the last three weekends of October.
Open seven days a week from 9-5, this is the 10th year they’ve been open in the community.
“We have lots of fall activities, so come out with your family and have a fun day together,” says Rocheleau.
A Bushel Of Fun
Families that pick together stick together! That’s the sentiment declared by family owned and operated, Wagner Orchards & Estate Winery.
“Picking fresh fruit is a fun, family activity, and a great way to spend an enjoyable afternoon,” states Harold Wagner, who owns the business with his wife, Janice. “Kids love to grab a fresh apple from a tree.”
Located at 1222 Lakeshore Road 103, Wagner Orchards (WagnerOrchards.com) began with the first planting of apple trees in 1986. Harold and his wife operate the farm with their children, Matt and Katrina.
At Wagner Orchards, you’ll find many varieties of apples, including royal gala, empire, mutsu, red delicious and more.
“Our fruit trees have the minimal amount of chemicals needed to produce high quality fruit,” claims Wagner, adding they also raise their own beef, pork and poultry free of hormones, chemicals and antibiotics. “Wagner Orchards continuously seeks to improve food quality through sound environmental practices. Our food is grown in the healthiest way possible.”
Over the years, they have expanded to include a farm bakery, producing fresh homemade pies, strudels and desserts. They’re also a registered estate winery and produce unique high-quality fruit and grape wines and ciders.
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, they also have a small play area for kids and hay rides to the orchard on the weekends.
“For many families visiting from the city, we know that this is the only farm experience they will have,” Wagner notes. “We are a working farm and we are always happy to discuss any and all farming practices with our guests.”
While sometimes kids can get antsy and impatient during a typical trip to the mall, they’ll be begging to hit up as many stores as they can at Tecumseh Mall, 7654 Tecumseh Road East, Windsor on October 27!
From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on October 27, they’ll be holding their annual “Halloween Trick or Treat” event.
“Dress up, drop in and collect treats from participating Tecumseh Mall retailers, while quantities last,” explains Marissa Goze, Marketing Director.
The event takes place throughout the entire mall at participating retailers. Look for the pumpkin sign in the storefront window to know which businesses are taking part on October 27.
“On the same day, tag @TecumsehMall on your social media Halloween photos taken at the event, using #TMallLovesHalloween, and be entered to win a family four-pack of Windsor Spitfires tickets,” adds Goze.
The event is geared towards kids 12 years old and under and is in partnership with and sponsored by Your Neighbourhood Credit Union.
Goze describes it as “a chance for kids to wear their costumes more than once, and it’s providing another easy, fun and family-oriented event that’s free for everyone in a safe, warm indoor environment.”