Pumpkins, petting zoos and more, Gilchrist farms is bringing seasonal fun to Santa Clarita with their third annual Harvest Festival scheduled Sept. 29 to Oct. 31.
The farm is located at 30116 Bouquet Canyon Road and scheduled to be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily during the festival.
It’s a fun way to celebrate the changing of the seasons, said Monica Gilchrist, owner of Gilchrist Farms. “Fall flavors and feels are in the air,” she said.
The festival will feature pony rides, wagon rides, a petting zoo, straw-bale maze, pumpkin slingshots, pig races, fall crafts, live entertainment, bake sales, face painting and pumpkin decorating.
The petting zoo offers a diverse set of animals, Gilchrist said. “Many of the animals were born here.”
The farm has goats, pigs, peacocks, chicks, geese, sheep, bunnies and ducklings.
They are really nice animals, Gilchrist said. “This is their home.”
This year, organizers added a giant straw-bale slide, hand-led horseback rides and a roping corral, Gilchrist said.
Admission and pig races are free, but there is an extra fee for most of the other festivities.
If you bring a food item donation for the SCV Food Pantry, you can get $5 off the unlimited weekday or weekend wristband or free entry to the straw-bale maze, Gilchrist said.
Field trips are offered during the weekdays as well as farm and garden tours.
The tours and trips are educational and fun, Gilchrist said.
The farm is open every day during the festival from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., she said. “The pumpkin patch, petting zoo and straw-bale maze are open all the time.”
On weekdays field trips are between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and pony rides, petting zoo and wagon rides are open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Weekends welcome live bands, including Saugus High School’s marching band on Oct. 27, Gilchrist said.
Local nonprofits and clubs also sell baked goods throughout the festival.
If you have an original pumpkin recipe — with pumpkin as a primary flavor — and you think it’s the best, you can enter it in Gilchrist Farms’ second annual pumpkin cooking contest on Oct. 6.
A panel of judges will pick the winners of four categories: desserts, main dishes, miscellaneous and youth.
The judging will begin at 2 p.m., and all entries must be brought to the farm ready for presentation by 1:30 p.m., Gilchrist said.
The contest is open to the public to come and watch, and even get ideas from some of the chefs.
“We are really excited and thankful for the community support,” Gilchrist said.
For guidelines, information and to enter, visit www.gilchristfarm.com/pumpkin-cooking-contest/. For more information about the farm and festival, visit www.gilchristfarm.com/