PLEASE NOTE: While this post from 2014 will give you a great overview of the event, please be sure to check their website for up-to-date details on things like dates, hours, admission pricing and new additions to the fair’s activities.
After three years of blogging spanning four fall seasons, I think it’s amazing that we’ve really only scratched the surface of all the wonderful fairs and festivals that our great state of Connecticut has to offer. That’s why we are always so thankful when readers give us recommendations for their favorite fall activities. And today, I’m going to give you the inside scoop on one such destination (just down the road from me on the Rocky Hill/Cromwell line–how did I not know about this?!) that’s been recommended to us by several of our fabulous readers (thanks, ladies!): Fair Weather Acres.
For all of you who are familiar with this event, and are probably thinking “wait a minute, Fair Weather Acres is in Rocky Hill not Cromwell,” well, you’re right. The Fair Weather Acres farm stand is located on Cromwell Avenue in Rocky Hill. And it’s adorable.
But I’ve been doing this long enough to know (as we pulled into the parking area) that something did not seem right about this location for a fall festival. I had actually wrangled a friend of mine into coming with us that day (hi Janice!) and she was just getting her little ones out of the car when I bounded over to let her know my gut was telling me that, despite the big “Fair Weather Acres” sign out front, this was not the right spot.
Sure enough, the nice folks inside let me know that the fall festivities were taking place just about a half mile down the road (technically in Cromwell). Now, if I had paid more attention to their website, I would have seen right there on the Fall Festival Page in bright green lettering that all the hoopla was in fact .4 miles south of the farm stand (sorry Janice!).
Also, this bright yellow sign out front:
But in my defense, that sign is parallel to the road, so it would be hard to see it while driving. On the other hand, it is very visible from the farm stand parking lot, which made me feel like a little bit of a goof when I asked which way to the corn maze, and then turned around to find myself staring at a big sign with the words “corn maze” and an arrow on it. Oh well. I’m sure it happens all the time…
Fortunately, we hadn’t completely unloaded, so it was easy enough to hop back in the car and head up the road. Ahhh. Now this was more like it…
The parking area is conveniently located right near the entrance, and you can tell they’ve been doing this for a while because the whole thing runs like clockwork. Purchase your tickets at the little hut, where you can also get a preview of the activities that await you at the festival.
Major credit cards are accepted here, but it’s cash only out at the festival (for food), so be sure to stop at the ATM if you don’t have at least $10 cash on you (which will buy you maybe 2 hot dogs, a beverage, a cider doughnut and possibly a bag of chips).
While we’re on the subject of money, I will admit that the admission prices at first seem a little high. But you have to factor in a few things. First, this is an all-inclusive pass for the activities (not the food; that’s separate). And there are a lot of them. Did you see that sign above?! We recently went to another local festival where we paid $8/person a la carte for just two activities. So double that dollar amount for five times the entertainment seems more than reasonable.
But if you’re still waffling over whether to shell out double digits for a ticket, let me give you the little push over the edge you need. Want to turn this outing into a real bargain? Make sure you plan to get your family’s pumpkins here. Because the price for admission that includes a pumpkin from their pumpkin patch ($13 for ages 3-11; $16 for ages 12 and up) is almost like getting in for half price. What?! That’s right. Have you priced pumpkins lately? They can be 50 cents a pound (or more) at many local farm stands and you could easily haul off a 15+ pounder. So if you consider $8-$10 to be the price of the pumpkin, well, you do math. Bottom line: pick your pumpkins here. Plus, they’re all cute in a real pumpkin patch which makes for such adorable pictures. But more on that later…
Another budget-friendly tip: Every Friday is half price admission for children & adults (for the general public; not school groups). The hours are 2-6, which may not be as convenient for those of us with kiddos who still nap in the afternoons, but hey, it’s a great deal if you can swing it!
So you’ve paid for your tickets. Depending on whether or not you are picking a pumpkin, you’ll get a different wristband.
Then head over to hop on the hay ride (you can also bypass this part and walk right out into the festival via the pumpkin patch; it’s actually really close, the hay ride just takes you all the way around to the front). The ride runs in a continuous loop from the ticket booth to the festival entrance to the pumpkin patch (although, most people just walk to the pumpkin patch because it’s so close to everything else) and back again. So you’ll never have to wait very long for a lift.
While we were waiting for the hay ride, I checked out the corn maze map that we’d been given when we bought our tickets. So nice to have a map for one of these things, isn’t it?!
There was also this large sign with additional information about the maze and a fun back story to make the adventure even more exciting 🙂
Confession time: with 2 preschoolers and 2 toddlers in our bunch, I pretty much knew that we weren’t going to have time for the corn maze what with all the other activities that were sure to catch their eyes first (which is why I highly recommend this place if you are looking for a corn maze adventure that’s perfect for the preschool set). So I didn’t pay all that much attention to the maze or the game, or how the maze and the game went together. If anyone has tried it and wants to let us know how that all works (and if it was fun!), that would be super. Leave us a comment on this post with all the info.
A short ride later, we were disembarking into a true fall fair wonderland. There were so many things to do, we didn’t know which way to go first.
Of course, all the kids seemed to have a homing device set on the grain pit. So off we went!
Now, I’m no expert, but I have been to a good sampling of local fairs and festivals, and I have NEVER seen anything like this before. See all that yellow out there on the ground that looks like sand? Yeah. That would be corn. Like 100 gajillion zillion bazillion corn kernels. And let me tell you, that stuff is F-U-N!
It’s like the pioneer version of today’s ball pit. Only way cooler. The kids had a blast running around, climbing and sliding on the play structure, burrowing into the corn, which had to be at least a foot deep.
Even you-know-who was having the time of his life (until he decided to start tasting the corn and then it was time for a speedy getaway).
Now, there are two challenges that go along with this activity. The first: residual corn. The grain leaves a fine white powdery substance all over everything it touches. And I do mean everything. So take off the kids’ shoes before they go in unless you want it to look like they have been hiking through a desert lately. Also, the kernels get everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. I was pulling corn kernels out of pockets, socks, and the lint filter in my dryer for almost a week. I kept waiting to open the dryer and find popcorn 🙂
The second challenge is getting your kids to leave it. Oh my goodness, I thought Boo was going to spend the entire morning in the grain pit. I’m still not sure what bribe finally coaxed him out. So if you can finagle it so you save this activity for last, that would be my recommendation.
When we finally got everyone out of the grain pit, we headed for the pedal cars. There are two tracks, one for the little kids and one for the bigger kids/adults (although, many adults where riding the bigger pedal carts with a child on their lap, so that is an option too).
Boo was just big enough to reach the pedals on the carts on the little track. He was so proud of himself!
After the pedal carts, we said hello to the farm animals.
Next we herded the kids over to the giant tire playground. Oh my goodness, I cannot believe these are real tires! Look how huge they are!
There are two areas adjacent to one another. One has the tires piled on top of one another and is great for your older, climbing kiddos. The other has the tires upright on the ground so the littler kids can run around and through them (and climb a little, just not so high).
After that, we checked out the toddler-sized hay maze.
All the fun scare crows scattered about that make up the “Crow Walk.”
Other fun distractions.
And we even braved the corn maze for a little bit (until our older kids started trying to run ahead of us–map or no map, we were not going to risk losing track of two preschoolers in 10 foot high corn stalks.
BTW-Another nice thing about the maze is how wide the paths are. I actually saw one mom take a double stroller in there!
By this time it was almost noon and we were getting hungry. So we checked out the food stands. Not surprisingly, it was your typical fair fare: hot dogs, chicken nuggets, grinders, grilled cheese, pizza, fries, etc. Plenty of different options so there is sure to be something to please everyone in your crew. (Not to mention the ice cream and assorted apple-themed treats like cider doughnuts.) I know I’ve said it before, but let me say it again. The food stands are CASH ONLY. So plan accordingly.
Having all these food options definitely makes it so much easier to spend the day here. Another nice feature is the baby changing tent that’s located right near the porta-potty “restrooms” at the entrance to the corn maze.
After lunch, we let the kids play in the grain pit for another few minutes (despite my better judgement– now we had to figure out a way to get them to leave for the SECOND time that day).
Then it was time to stop off at the pumpkin patch so Boo could pick out his pumpkin. As I mentioned at the start, you can take the hay ride over to the pumpkin patch, but you can also just walk. That’s what we chose to do.
There are wagons available to help you tote your pumpkin picks back to the hay ride.
Back at the entrance, Boo found a few more ways to avoid heading for the car.
Of course, the only time the kid wants to be in front of the camera is when I’m trying to get him to leave 🙂
With four little ones ages 4 and under, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that we only lasted for a couple of hours at the festival before all of them needed a nap. But you could easily spend an entire morning and/or afternoon here if you’ve got kids who are slightly older. Still, it was such a fun, quintessential fall outing. I’m so glad our wonderful readers clued us into it. Keep those recommendations coming!
Open 7 days a week (except Thanksgiving Day) from Easter week until December 24th.
Monday – Saturday – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm*
Sunday – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm*
*Hours are seasonal; please check here for the most up-to-date information.
The Fall Festival is open September 19, 2014 – November 1, 2014 on weekends and Columbus Day.
Fridays: 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Saturdays & Sundays (including Columbus Day): 10:00am – 6:00pm
**LAST TICKET SOLD AT 4:30PM – PROPERTY CLOSES AT 6:00PM**
Admission – Cash and all major credit cards accepted at admission booth. Food concessions are cash only. All tickets include all activities.
**Half price admission for children & adults on Fridays (for the general public; not for groups)**
|includes Pumpkin||without Pumpkin|
|Adult (ages 12 & up)||$16||$13|
|Child (ages 3-11)||$13||$10|
|2 and Under||Free||Free|
|Family Four Pack
(2 Adults & 2 Children)
(30 or more people)
- Stroller Friendly: YES. You can bring your stroller on the wagon or you can bypass the wagon ride completely and walk through the pumpkin patch to the festival (a very short distance).
- Coffee Mug Friendly: NO. Outside food and beverages are not allowed.
- Restroom: YES. Port-a-potties are located near the entrance to the corn maze.
- Baby Changing Station: YES. There is a baby changing tent with a table.
- Parking: YES. Parking is free and it is conveniently located near the entrance.
- Food for Sale: YES. There are lots of food options including grinders, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, cider doughnuts, ice cream, etc.
- Outside Food Allowed: NO. We did bring in water bottles for the kids, and that was fine. And I’m sure no one would give you trouble over bringing some snacks for your baby/toddler. You can’t feed a grinder to a kiddo with no teeth, right?! 🙂 I think they are just trying to avoid people bringing in full picnic lunches, coolers, etc. So go ahead. Treat yourself to a hot dog and a cider doughnut. You’ve earned it running around in that corn maze. Ha!
- Cash Required: YES and NO. You can purchase your admission tickets with a credit card, but once you are at the festival, all the food stands only take cash.
- Dress Code: Comfortable clothing and shoes. You may want to consider rubber boots if there has been a lot of rain. Beware the corn dust in the corn pit. It will get on EVERYTHING.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES.
- 4D Vision Gym – A vision training center located in Cromwell, CT where Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD and her staff show members how to utilize Vision Therapy to correct visual issues and make learning and playing easier and more fun.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
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