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Fall carnival at White's Country Farm

As the days get cooler, the trees don their golden garb, and pumpkin spice latte is back on the menu. Families can bundle up and find a variety of fall fun activities only a hay ride away.

Several local farms are planning harvest fairs that feature a range of autumn festivities from corn mazes to pumpkin patches.

This year marks a decade since White's Country Farm first began offering its Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch. Mark Medeiros, the owner of White's Country Store for the last four years, said that his predecessor, Chris Knox, introduced the first large-scale, corn maze to the Rogue Valley in 2000. Medeiros and his wife, Linda, work all summer preparing their farm for the event — planting the 5-acre corn field, carving out the maze using a machete, digging up the roots, rototilling, leveling the ground and tending the two pumpkin patches.

"It's the experience, and it's the farming, down-to-earth scene," she said.

White's Fall Festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through October. Linda Medeiros said on an average weekend about 2,000 people attend, and this year, more than 800 children are booked for weekday school tours.

"It's more of a carnival geared to small kids, and I mean they love it," said Linda Medeiros.

Admission to the festival is free, tickets for individual activities are $1 per ticket. Festival events include a 65-foot, dragon obstacle course (three tickets), a 1-acre kids' corn maze (one ticket), face-painting (two tickets), rock climbing (five tickets), pony rides (three tickets), wagon rides to the pumpkin patch (one ticket), a hoop shoot (one ticket), and fall's favorite foods such as kettle corn, apple cider and caramel apples.

This year for the first three weeks in October, the large corn maze also will feature four stations with animals from Wildlife Images. Admission to the large corn maze will be $3 during the day, $5 for adults and $3 for children from noon to 4 p.m. when the animals are available and on Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 10 p.m.

"The big maze is tailored more for the bigger kids," said Linda Medeiros.

On a typical Friday or Saturday night, the large corn maze lures between 300 and 400 people through its twisting passageways. Following the festival season the corn stalks are used for cattle feed.

"The idea is the money raised from the festival carries you over the winter, but our reason is to carry on the tradition in the valley," she said.

The majority of people who come are attracted to the pumpkin patch where they can choose pumpkins for decorating and carving. A pumpkin, which weighs about 10 to 15 pounds, costs 22 cents a pound. Medeiros said their two pumpkin patches spread over 10 acres produce about 20,000 pounds of pumpkins, and they sell quickly.

"There's a certain age boy that has to find the biggest pumpkin," Linda Medeiros said.

See Tempo's Activities listings for more harvest festivals happening in the Rogue Valley.