Jaker’s Jack-O-Lanterns, a beloved fall attraction for families in Springville and surrounding areas, is once again spreading a healthy dose of October cheer.
Located at 950 West 400 South in Springville, the Harward Farms-owned pumpkin patch is one of the most affordably-priced venues of its kind in Utah County. It’s been around for 14 years, though it has evolved from a charming pick-your-own pumpkin patch to a large attraction that includes slides, corn pits, a petting zoo and more.
Jake and Sara Harward, two of the owners of Jaker’s Jack-O-Lanterns, never expected the pumpkin patch to grow as big as it now is. In the beginning, they started growing pumpkins primarily for Wal-Mart.
One night, Sara was driving to Wal-Mart when she noticed flashlights out in the pumpkin patch. She discovered that some people were taking advantage of the nighttime darkness to steal some pumpkins from the field. Harward was understandably upset and confronted the group, who claimed they were taking the pumpkins because they thought they were frozen.
Harward explained that temperatures were not low enough for any of the pumpkins to freeze. The police were called and Sara consulted with her husband to see what they should do about the problem. He responded “one way to take care of that is to put up a sign like you’re selling them. Then they can’t say they thought they were frozen.” And so Jaker’s pick-your-own pumpkin patch was born. Little by little, the Harwards have added new attractions to the pumpkin patch to make it more appealing to families of all ages and sizes.
There are a lot of options at Jaker’s to keep visitors entertained. When I visited with my daughter and my sister’s family, we noticed several large corn pits when we first entered the pumpkin patch. In one area, multiple corn pits are laid out adjacent to a large stack of hay bales. In another area, a wide metal slide allows children to slide right into a large pool of corn kernels.
In addition to the highly popular corn pits, the pumpkin patch also has a small petting zoo, two tube slides, a hay pyramid and a pumpkin tower. I also noticed a concession stand and what looked like a small gift shop. Older kids and adults who want to challenge themselves can take a crack at the large corn field to the west of the main play area. And, of course, many families are drawn to the pumpkins themselves, which serve as prominent decorations and are available for purchase.
While I was there, I had the opportunity to talk with two different guests about what draws them to Jaker’s. Kayrene Gibson, a grandmother from Price, was there with her five grandchildren, ages 3 and under. She explained that she travels to the area regularly to receive allergy shots. Since she was already in the vicinity, she decided to bring her grandkids to the charming pumpkin patch. She said, “this is my second year at Jaker’s. We brought my twin grandchildren last year and this year we decided to bring the rest of the grandkids because the twins had such a good time last year.”
Her grandkids’ favorite attractions were the tunnel slides. But Gibson explained to me that picking out pumpkins is her favorite part of the trip.
“I like buying the pumpkins. They are a good price and I love how you can get the white kind, the bumpy kind, and there’s just a great selection,” she said.
Julie Krieger, a mother from Orem, was also at the pumpkin patch that day with her two boys, ages 4 and 1.
“We love Jaker’s because it’s inexpensive. It’s priced really well, especially if you have a lot of kids or play groups that want to come. We just like that there are so many different slides and things that the kids can do, and it’s not too busy, generally,” Krieger said.
This year, most visitors and passersby have probably noticed the large “For Sale” sign on the corner of the property where Jaker’s now stands. Harward explained to me that Harward Farms does not own the land and is currently leasing it. Harward reassured me that Jaker’s is not going anywhere. If the land sells this year, she explained that they’ll most likely move the attraction to another piece of land closer to the freeway. That means everyone who has come to love the pumpkin patch can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
At $5 per ticket, Jaker’s is pretty easy to afford, even for larger families. Children ages 2 and under can get in the park for free. Right now, it’s recommended that tickets be purchased online. That’s because The Health Department only allows 1,000 people to be on the property at a time. By purchasing tickets online, you ensure that you won’t get turned away at the gate.
Harward explained to that she hasn’t had to turn anyone away so far, and it is still possible to purchase tickets at the gate with cash or a credit card.
Jaker’s is open from 9 a.m. until sundown. Currently, sundown is between 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., but by the end of October it will be closer to 7 p.m. The pumpkin patch closes for the season on Oct. 31 and will be open until 7 p.m. that evening. Though it is hard to make plans because of COVID-19, Harward said she hopes to have Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating going on in the pumpkin patch that night.
“We just hope that people will still be able to come and have a good experience and enjoy themselves,” she said.
In regard to the pumpkin patch’s mask policy, she said that masks are required by the Health Department.
To purchase tickets for Jaker’s Jack-O-Lanterns, interested individuals can visit the Harward Farms website (http://www.harwardfarms.com/jakers/. (Peterson is a Serve Daily contributor.)