Our Halloween Pumpkin Festival began in 1989, but Lombardi Ranch has been selling pumpkins since 1968.
When our oldest daughter Julia was in preschool we invited her class for a tour of our ranch. It just happened that it was near Halloween and so at the end of the tour we gave each one of the fifteen children a small pumpkin and sent them on their way. They had a great time and told a couple of other preschools about their visit to the farm and the pumpkin patch. The next year we had three or four local preschools call us for a pumpkin tour. The children went home and told their parents about the farm and then the whole family would come to visit on the weekend. It has just blossomed from there.
We have certainly changed from that first pumpkin tour. Our focus has changed from Halloween to more of a Harvest theme, and we have as many as eight thousand school children of all grades come to Lombardi Ranch for a field trip, and we have yet to advertise our tours. Each child still has the opportunity to purchase a pumpkin, and each one goes home with a Lombardi Ranch balloon, sticker, pencil and candy. They are shown how several different kinds of vegetables are grown including beets, lettuce, carrots as well as the pumpkins. The children also get to see a real cow up close, often times with a nursing calf. We also have donkeys, a horse, a goat, sheep and llamas. Each one of these animals has something to teach our visitors.
In October the weekends have also evolved into something spectacular, with bands, a petting zoo, wagon rides and lots of things to see. We have striven to keep this very family oriented and a fun and safe place to spend a few hours on a weekend. In 1989 we initiated the first Scarecrow Contest. Every year since, we have had over 100 scarecrows entered into the contest with prizes in each of three categories.
My husband and I started farming when we had one child, two tractors and a lot of dreams. We now have three more children (and 13 grandchildren), several tractors and even more dreams for our ranch. We would like to welcome all of you to visit us!
- Joann Lombardi