BRUSH PRAIRIE — The lines were long and parking lots packed at Bi-Zi Farms in Brush Prairie over the weekend, as thousands coursed through the family farm to grab pumpkins for carving before real fall weather sets in.
The event only seems to get bigger, proprietor Bill Zimmerman said Sunday afternoon.
The farm holds its annual harvest festival the last weekend of September and each weekend in October, he said, and even with construction along Northeast 119th Street in front of the farm, he expected to see about 40,000 guests this year.
“We’ve been really shocked. We’ve been really surprised,” he said. “We didn’t expect quite as big a crowd.”
Kids clambered over the pyramid of hay bales and families washed then loaded wheelbarrows with pumpkins for carving.
Others tried launching pumpkins into barrels with the farm’s giant slingshots, rolled around in a giant corn kernel bin play area, pumped water spouts to race floating toys in gutters, practiced lassoing hay bales, communed with farm animals and rode around atop big bouncing balls.
The latter, “Hippity Hop Races” are a new addition, Zimmerman said.
“A friend of ours that’s helping out, she’s bound and determined to get pictures of every one of us on the hippity hop balls,” he said, laughing at the image of himself and his family, many of whom help out with the event, bounding around on kids toys.
Beyond all the fun and games, Zimmerman said he expected the farm, with its 26 acres of pumpkins, produces an easy 100,000 pumpkins, including the small ones meant for the launchers.
Jason and Sarah Beamon of Vancouver were in line with their two kids, 18-month-old Brighton and 3-year-old Addie, and friend Jaymee Blue to wash off their pumpkins before leaving.
Sunday was their first trip to the farm as a family, Sarah Beamon said, and they loaded up their wheelbarrow with pumpkins for carving.
Brighton rode in the wheelbarrow with the day’s bounty.
“We had to get the big ones. He liked the ones with all the bumps on it, and the dirt,” said Beamon, as she grabbed Brighton’s hand before he could munch on a handful of dirt.
“I think it’s a really good deal. Pumpkins are really expensive at Safeway, but this way you get a bunch of stuff to go with it,” she said.
Vancouver’s Shane and Michelle Albright, who were in attendance Sunday with their daughter’s competitive cheerleading gym, have been coming to the pumpkin patch for about 15 years.
Michelle Albright said when they first started coming, there was the patch, a maze of hay bales for small children and tractor rides.
“Now it’s huge,” she said.