After a successful inaugural year in 2020, Powassan's Great Pumpkin Tour is back and promises to be bigger and better than last year. The event is the brainchild of Kathie Hogan, the events coordinator at 250 Clark. Last year she convinced farmers and business owners in the Powassan area to host tours and events at their respective sites, which also created opportunities for the businesses to sell their goods, including numerous varieties of vegetables. Hogan said all the farms and businesses which took part in 2020 are back, plus a few more farms which have been added this year. Among the new additions are the just opened Carriage House Market in Powassan and the Trout Creek Feed Store. Although there's only so much you can do to attract people to a farm, Hogan says the farmers are creating a carnival-like atmosphere to draw more people to the tour Oct. 2. Hogan says that's why some farmers have reached out to other vendors to join them on their properties so the public has more to see and do. For example, the Trout Creek Feed Store is bringing in a food truck from Parry Sound as well as a farmer from Commanda Township who, in addition to bringing along some of his produce, will also have pumpkin drinks to coincide with the time of the year. Hogan says the whole idea behind the Great Pumpkin Tour is to celebrate the season and to create a fun day for families, especially the children. So it's no surprise that many farms will be letting children get reasonably close to the farm animals to pet them. Perhaps one of the big draws will be the Wand Family Farm in Powassan, where Markus Wand will have a pop-up Science North display with two tents. In addition, Wand will have the Powassan Fire Department on site and the firefighters are bringing along their vintage fire truck so adults and kids can be photographed with the vehicle. The firefighters are also holding a fundraising barbeque. “It's been interesting to see how the farmers and the businesses have evolved after just one year,” Hogan said. “In addition to the food items for sale, they have all these add-ons. They've been thinking outside the box by bringing new things for the day. One farm even added a bounce castle to keep kids busy.” Hogan says another farm new to the tour this year is DeHaan Family Farms in Astorville, where the specialty is goats. “You'll be able to get personal tours of the dairy where they milk the goats,” Hogan said. “They will also have cheese tasting of their own home-made cheese.” The Alderdale General Store in Chisholm, now celebrating its second year of operation, has also added more features to its stop. That includes another food truck for the public, ice cream inside the shop, crafters on site with many of their handmade goods for sale, plus a photographer on site to photograph people engaged in various activities. For the Powassan Home Hardware, Hogan has arranged for Sue Childs-Furlong of North Bay to bring a live bee hive to the business. The bees will be behind plexiglass so there's no need to worry about bee stings. Hogan says the public “has a chance to see the bees up close and personal” while they make honey - honey Childs-Furlong has won awards with at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Hogan says many events are also back including the pumpkin patch walks at most farms where people can also pick their own pumpkins. Hogan says for people coming in from North Bay and entering Powassan off Highway 11, Krause Farms Food and Feed will likely be their first stop. Upon arrival, if you haven't printed off a map of the tour sites, you can pick one up at Krause's where you'll also get a free coffee. Hogan is encouraging the public to bring along a cooler which can hold your lunch but then doubles as a storage container to hold the various locally-produced meats available for purchase like beef, pork, lamb and ready-made sausages. Hogan says there are a few safety points the public needs to keep in mind when visiting the various sites. “First you can't bring your dog anywhere on the farms because there are working animals on the farms,” she said. “And parents will need to keep control of their children. They can't go under an electric fence to pet a lamb, for example, in the middle of the field.” Hogan says the farms will have a number of safety signs up to remind the public of the rules to keep in mind so that the people and animals can all remain safe. One thing the farmers learned last year when hundreds of residents from surrounding areas took in the tour was the need to have port-a-potties. Hogan says a number of the farms have rented the bathroom units for the day so the public doesn't experience discomfort. The Great Pumpkin Tour involves farms and businesses in the Powassan, Chisholm and Nipissing areas. Online maps listing all the stops are available to be printed beginning Thursday by going to www.250Clark.ca or can also be picked at the 250 Clark municipal building in downtown Powassan. The tour is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “It's going to be great, so let's all celebrate,” Hogan said.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget