Lombardi Ranch Pumpkin Festival History
By Joann Lombardi
My husband Bob and I, along with our four children, are very proud of what has developed with luck and a lot of hard work. We are a real working farm, open from late summer to mid-November. Everything we sell at our roadside stand we have grown right on our ranch.
The property has been in the Lombardi family since the early 1940s. Typical crops for a year are sweet corn, both yellow and white, tomatoes ripened on the vine, onions, peppers, both hot and sweet, summer squashes, winter squashes, melons of all different varieties, watermelons and flowers.
We pride ourselves on the quality of our produce and strive to always have the best. During the month of October we add pumpkins, Indian corn, corn stalks and gourds, family fun and entertainment.
Our Halloween Pumpkin Festival began in 1989, but Lombardi Ranch has been selling pumpkins since 1968.
When our oldest daughter Julia was in preschool, we invited her class for a tour of our ranch. It just happened that it was near Halloween, so at the end of the tour, we gave each one of the 15 children a small pumpkin and sent them on their way. They had a great time and told a couple of other preschools about their visit to the farm and the pumpkin patch.
The next year we had three or four local preschools call us for a pumpkin tour. The children went home and told their parents about the farm, and then the whole family would come to visit on the weekend. It has just blossomed from there.
We have certainly changed from that first pumpkin tour. Our focus has changed from Halloween to more of a harvest theme, and we have as many as 8.000 school children of all grades come to Lombardi Ranch for a field trip, and we have yet to advertise our tours.
Each child still has the opportunity to purchase a pumpkin, and each one goes home with a Lombardi Ranch balloon, sticker, pencil and candy. They are shown how several different kinds of vegetables are grown including beets, lettuce, carrots as well as the pumpkins.
The children also get to see a real cow up close, often with a nursing calf. We also have donkeys, a horse, a goat, sheep and llamas. Each one of these animals has something to teach our visitors.
In October, the weekends have also evolved into something spectacular with bands, a petting zoo, wagon rides and lots of things to see.
We have striven to keep this very family-oriented and a fun and safe place to spend a few hours on a weekend. In 1989 we initiated the first Scarecrow Contest. Every year since, we have had more than 100 scarecrows entered into the contest, with prizes in each of three categories.
My husband and I started farming when we had one child, two tractors and a lot of dreams. We now have three more children (and 13 grandchildren), several tractors and even more dreams for our ranch.
We would like to welcome all of you to visit us.