A popular autumn attraction recently returned to Homer Glen, this time with fresh sights and amusements in what will be its biggest year yet.
Bengtson’s Pumpkin Farm opened its doors Friday, Sept. 15, for the start of another season of Pumpkin Fest.
Now, in its 37th year, the Homer Glen farm features its biggest expansion in history in 2017 and boasts a number of new attractions.
“We built more buildings than we ever have before,” said Jeremy Bengtson, who helps runs the farm he and his family own. “This is the second year we’ve owned the land. We’ve never done that. Before that, we rented the land for about 30 years, so we weren’t really able to do any expanding.”
In December 2015, the family-owned business acquired 80 acres of land, which the farm now resides on.
The Pumpkin Farm features double the room to provide added space for eating, sitting and play areas for children.
Bengtson said the expansion helps to create a much more friendly atmosphere. New to the festival, Bengtson’s features a barnyard dance rollercoaster, pavilion for dining, petting zoo barn, giant corn box barn, children’s excavators and new souvenir clothing.
Bengtson said the festival’s appeal rings true for many.
“A lot of people are getting away from the city, and this isn’t something that they’re used to,” Bengtson said. “These days, children like the rides a lot. We got a new cow-themed spin coaster for families, so that’s really popular.”
Bengtson added the farm has a way of drawing in more and more people year after year, which is not surprising to him.
“I mean, it’s all we do,” Bengtson said. “It’s all I think about every day. It’s all me and my cousin, and my family [do.] I mean, [we] just wake up every day [thinking], ‘What can we do to make it better? What’s the coolest thing we could do that people will enjoy?’ Then, we spend all winter and all summer making it happen. It’s not that much of a surprise because since the day we closed, it’s all we thought about.”
Kylie Haney said she is glad she and her family decided to drop in.
“[I like] the kids’ rides, and the fact that they incorporate adults, as well,” she said.
Haney had ridden the flying frogs ride with her younger sister. She enjoyed the time they got to share having fun at the farm.
“Being with somebody so little and being able to take her on the rides is a lot of fun,” she said.
The event did a wonderful job of bringing her family closer together, Haney added. It helped make for a memorable day with out-of-town family.
“My family’s in town visiting right now, and this is the highlight of our trip,” she said.
Yasmine Gil explored the festival grounds with her husband, Saul, and their three children, Abby, Aaliyah and Audriana.
“[I like] everything — the games, the pumpkins, of course,” she said. “[It’s] just the experience. [It creates] memories every year.”
The Gil family usually drops in on Sundays for Pumpkin Fest. Yasmine said she was pleased to see the farm’s new expansion.
“Last year, we came maybe the second week,” she said. “It was really crowded and longer lines, and [the children] got a little tired, but this time, they’re fine… We came to the first day, so it’s empty. We love that there’s no lines.”
Yasmine said the children were most looking forward to seeing the new attractions this year.
“They like the new rollercoaster this year,” she said.
The goal for the Pumpkin Fest, Bengtson said, is simple. He said all he and his family want is for “people to feel comfortable and create that lifelong memory and that fall day with the family.”
The Pumpkin Fest also includes a free selfie booth, tractor-pulled hayrack rides, a gemstone and arrowhead mining sluice, pony rides for children up to 80 pounds, a wide assortment of pumpkins, Bengtsonville Kids Village, a fun barn, pumpkin chucker, haunted barn, pigs races, simulated milking cows and several other rides, in addition to the 90-foot mega fun slide.
The farm is located at 13341 W. 151st St. in Homer Glen, and the Pumpkin Fest was open from Friday Sept. 15 through Sunday, Sept. 17, with it reopening Friday, Sept. 22 and operating daily through Monday, Oct. 30. Hours and pricing vary by day.
For more information, visit www.pumpkinfarm.com or call (708) 301-3276.