Two eyes, a nose and a jack-o-lantern smile carved into a big orange fiberglass pumpkin, standing for more than just decoration: A little piece of tradition for many Santa Clarita residents is returning for two weekends of October, for pumpkin sales and photo opportunities only.
Lombardi Ranch, a family-owned business run by Bob and Joann Lombardi, established in 1966, is scheduled to reopen to the public Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28.
“We are looking forward to seeing people we haven’t seen in a while,” said Bob Lombardi, owner of Lombardi Ranch. “People are excited. We still have all our displays and are trying to let them get some good photo opportunities.”
A small pyramid of hay, the bright red firetruck, faceboards and the iconic fiberglass pumpkin will be on site for residents to take pictures, or even reenact photos from their favorite memories at the ranch.
The hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., located at 29527 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus.
“It’s not what it was,” Lombardi said. “We don’t have the water to grow the maze, or sunflowers. We are limited to a small area.”
After 49 years, in 2015 the ranch closed due to California’s drought.
“There was no water in the wells,” Lombardi said. “The wells went dry due to the (lack of release from) Bouquet Canyon Reservoir and the drought.”
For Lombardi, farming is a hobby, he said. “I can’t farm very much, but I can a little. If I have the pumpkins to sell, I might as well sell them.”
Lombardi and his nephew Tony have been growing and picking the pumpkins themselves during this fall season.
“They are a lot heavier than they were 30 years ago,” Lombardi said, laughing.
With the water they were able to access and the space of land to grow, they have filled their lot, Lombardi said. “We have some very nice pumpkins.”
“We didn’t want to stop, but we couldn’t make it,” he said about the closure in 2015.
Besides opening to give residents a little piece of tradition, Lombardi is also giving his daughter, Julia Kaulbach, the chance to run the stand for a weekend or two.
“Julia, my daughter, loves the stand and loves to work it for a weekend or two in October,” he said.
The family hopes to put smiles on the faces of people who have supported the ranch for years.
“My favorite part is seeing the people come in,” Lombardi said. “It’s kind of an up for me to do this — bring back the piece of the ranch again.”