It’s fall, the morning air is crisp, the leaves are turning yellow, and snow has begun to grace the mountaintops. This can only mean one thing − it’s time for Guidestone’s 12th annual Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Festival at the historic Hutchinson Ranch on U.S. Highway 50 between Salida and Poncha Springs.

The highlight of the weekend of family fun is pony rides and horse-drawn wagon rides to the pumpkin patch provided by Arkansas Trail Riders. Other interactive activities include face painting, a straw bale maze, farm games, tractor-drawn rides, a working cider press, crafts and food. New this year are family portraits by Phreckles Photography with all proceeds going directly to fund Guidestone’s many programs.

Live music is also being featured in the event barn each day with the traditional and folk style musical acts of Stephen Smalzel, Chris Nasca, Bob Campbell, Stuck In the Briar (Elisha McArthur, Mike Rosso and friends), Bonnie Culpepper and Friends, There Will be Pie (Tom Plant and Dale Anderson), Seth Roberts and Christopher Leydon, and Matthew Coen.

Andrea Earley Coen, executive director of Guidestone, said, “The festival is a great way to engage the community with neighbors, friends and family coming out to celebrate the harvest season in an agricultural setting. The fact that there is a place like this that families can go and spend the day together is pretty unique. I hope that families can come away having enjoyed their time together with a greater appreciation of our valley and the open space that a historic cattle ranch can provide. The connection with our agricultural heritage is important.”

Coen described her favorite part of the festival. “I really like the horse-drawn wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch. The horses are beautiful, it’s peaceful, and I enjoy chatting with the wranglers. It’s such a beautiful setting with the mountains towering over the pasture and the cottonwoods turning golden this time of year. I also really enjoy seeing the children’s faces when they pick out their perfect pumpkin.”

“The success of the event is due in large part to the partners, sponsors, donors and volunteers that help support the event,” she said. “As an organization, Guidestone is grateful for the support and participation from the community.”

The Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Festival takes place Friday-Sunday, Oct. 12-14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the Hutchinson Ranch, in and around the Event Barn located across the highway from the Hutchinson Homestead and Learning Center. It is the main fundraiser for Guidestone, an organization dedicated to growing a vibrant agricultural future through education, community building and partnerships. Proceeds go toward supporting the delivery of education programs, continued preservation efforts and general operations of the Hutchinson Homestead and Learning Center, Guidestone’s operations home base. For more information, including schedules and volunteer needs, visit their website at guidestonecolorado.org.