YANKTON, SD (KELO) — We may have just wrapped up an extreme heat wave, but fall is just around the corner. And that means pumpkin patch season is nearly here.
A Yankton family has turned part of their family farm into a tourist attraction benefiting the whole community.
“This is our family farm; it’s a century farm over all, going back to great grandparents,” Mazing Acres owner Scott Nedved said.
While they’re still farming traditional crops, a visit to a pumpkin patch in 2019 set the Nedved family on a mission to create something special with a corner of their property.
“In 2020, we opened up thinking it was going to be a hobby of ours,” Mazing Acres owner Molly Nedved said.
It’s turned into not only a family affair, but also a job for their neighbors who’ve all spent plenty of hands-on hours creating this new fall festival destination.
“I have a hand in a lot of it, coursing, me and my brother to help me and Molly as well, a really handy neighbor who does carpentry and he’s helped out a ton; he’s very inventive,” Scott Nedved said.
“This is their fourth year in existence. They’ve really built on to what they’ve had previously and always reinvent themselves so super fun to know what they’re doing this upcoming season,” the Business Services Director at Yankton Thrive Becky Wiswall said.
“One of the questions we get no matter when and where we’re at, ‘What’s new at the patch? What do you guys have going on?'” Scott Nedved said.
From zip lines to giant swings, a corn maze and corn pit, trains, slides and plenty of silo gazebos, Mazing Acres keeps adding to the list of family fun.
“We have about 30 different attractions for kids and adults alike. Everything from potato cannons to baseball and football toss, adult and child size trikes, a bounce pillow,” Molly Nedved said.
Their you-pick pumpkin patch is one of the largest attractions where everyone can come and pick out their favorite pumpkins to take home.
“We have about five acres of pumpkins out there and we take hay rides around there and people can get out and pick their own pumpkins, it seems like the guests really enjoy that,” Nedved said.
The proof of that enjoyment comes in the growth Mazing Acres has seen in its three seasons in business.
“We saw about 8,000 or 9,000 people that first year. Every year it’s grown a little bit since then; we last year saw about 15,000 guests come through,” Scott Nedved said.
While plenty of Yankton locals enjoy coming out to the patch…
“We can travel 10 miles outside of town rather than traveling an hour or hour and half or to Omaha,” Wiswall said.
…Mazing Acres is also having a much wider draw for fall tourists.
“We hope it’s a testament to the people who have been here, having a good time, telling their friends or family about it,” Scott Nedved said.
“We’re seeing lots of people coming from Iowa, Nebraska. Seventy percent are from South Dakota, the other 30 percent are from outside of South Dakota,” Molly Nedved said.
“I think it gives Yankton another identity rather than just summer lake experience and stuff; brings in another beautiful part of our year in the fall,” Wiswall said.
Helping to spread out the local tourism a little longer for all area businesses.
“We certainly hope that when people come to see us, they’re also visiting other local attractions in Yankton,” Molly Nedved said.
And providing some great part-time job opportunities for those looking for a little extra fun this fall.
“We have to hire 40 to 50 staff, a lot of them are high school kids in their first job,” Molly Nedved said.
They’re all gearing up for a busy fall festival season where they hope to see even more new people come and try out the community’s new favorite yearly tradition.
“It’s fun to see the same families coming time and time again making memories with their family,” Molly Nedved said.
Mazing Acre’s Fall Festival begins on Saturday, September 16 and will run every Saturday and Sunday until the weekend before Halloween.