As part of a two-weekend comeback, the family-owned Lombardi Ranch reopened its gates to the public on Saturday.
Run by Bob and Joann Lombardi and established in 1966, visiting the location has been a tradition for visitors and their families as a regular October destination due to its scarecrows, pumpkin patches and other activities, the ranch closed down in 2015 because of California’s severe drought.
“I came as a kid with my parents and school, after school,” said visitor Christine Kneisler. “I just want my son to be a part of it. So when it closed a couple years ago, I was kind of broken-hearted. Whenever I hear it’s open for a few days, I definitely make time for it.”
As it is a tradition for many to visit the ranch, Julia Kaulbach accepted her father’s request to sell some of the ranch’s pumpkins three years ago. Of all of the Lombardis’ children, Kaulbach said she loves the ranch the most.
“My parents opened this when I was 2, so it’s been part of my life,” said Kaulbach. “When we closed down, I was really sad. So when he asked that I said, ‘Yes, I’d love to!’”
After a steady progression of visitors spread the word that the ranch was back selling pumpkins, the Lombardis decided to keep the momentum going.
“Everybody was just so happy we were here,” she said. “But this year we have really beautiful pumpkins, you can see. I think it’s more that people come for the whole experience, they remember. Some of our customers that came here as kids and they’re bringing their kids. It’s nice that we can give them that.”
Lynnette Robinson shared this sentiment bringing her young daughter to the ranch for the first time. Watching her daughter walk by a red firetruck, Robinson said she went to Lombardi Ranch since she her parents took her as a baby.
“It’s always fun memories, I wish it was completely open but it’s ok,” she said. “It’s fun looking back, seeing pictures of me when I was little, (sitting) on all these little things and now seeing my kids on it, it’s just fun.”
Though limited to its pyramid of haystacks, the fire engine and the fiberglass pumpkin, guests can get their faces painted and even pick up other farm items like Valencia oranges, gourds and pomegranates.
Lombardi Ranch will stay open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 21 and Oct. 27-28. It’s located at 29527 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus.