Local Pumpkin Patches and Hayrides Top Autumn Activities

St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church’s Pumpkin Patch is packed with pumpkins.

Hunting for pumpkins in pumpkin patches and relaxing in piles of hay on  hayrides are perfect ways to celebrate the fall season. On the corner of E. Lumsden Rd. and S. Parsons Ave. (across the street from B. Lee Elam, Attorney at Law), Dave Morrow’s pumpkin patch, which raises funds for local PTAs, features gorgeous mums, hay, gourds, corn stalks and hundreds of pumpkins.
“We have mini-pumpkins that fit in the palms of your hands up to big, above-the-knee pumpkins,” says Morrow, who has been operating his patch for more than a dozen years. “People can also pop in and take pictures.”
This patch is open Friday, October 8-Sunday, October 31.
The hours are Monday-Friday, 1-8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-9p.m.
For more information, contact Morrow at 843-8182.
The annual pumpkin patch at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church (UMC), located at 3315 Bryan Rd. in Brandon, opens Saturday, October 9, at 12:30 p.m. and runs through Saturday, October 30, at 7 p.m.
The patch’s hours are Monday-Friday, 3-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday 12:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
“We are expecting over 2,500 pumpkins,” shares St. Andrew’s UMC Student Minister Dan Segale. “Funds raised help support the United Methodist Youth Fellowship.” 
For information about St. Andrew’s UMC, visit www.standrewsbrandon.com or call 689-6849
Throughout the month of October, Collins Produce, located at 2810 E. S.R. 60 in Valrico (corner of N. St. Cloud Ave. and E. S.R. 60), will sell hundreds of  pumpkins.
The stand is open Monday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
 For information, call 657-2016.
R & R Ranch owner Barbara Childs welcomes the public to her ranch, at 9805 Bryant Rd. in Lithia, for a fall festival on Saturday, October 30, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $10 per child and adults are free. Childs says the event will include hay rides, horse feeding, pony rides, a petting zoo, cart rides pulled by donkeys and more. Food will be served for a small additional charge.
 “Families will get to see what we do here,” says Childs. “We have 10 acres and the hayride goes to the back of the property under a big oak tree where riders can feed horses hay from buckets.”
A portion of the proceeds from this event will go toward Our Military Kids, Inc., which provides support to children of deployed National Guard and Reserve personnel, as well as children of severely injured service members through grants for enrichment activities and tutoring.
 For more information about hayrides, pony parties, and other attractions at the ranch, call 653-3819 or visit www.rrranchlithia.com
Red Barn Petting Farm, which is adjacent to Bloomingdale Growers Plant Nursery & Landscaping at 3902 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, has donkeys, cows, goats, chickens, llamas, turkeys, and peacocks. 
“Hayrides go out to a pasture where you can get up close and personal with the cows,” says Darlene Davidson, whose family opened Bloomingdale Growers about 30 years ago and added the petting farm years later. “We also teach kids about farm life, and they get to pet and feed the animals.”
Red Barn is open to groups only by appointment. Davidson has hosted birthday parties, private and public school groups, daycares, mom’s groups, church and other private groups.
For information, contact 684-6923.