A local family farm is celebrating its ten-year anniversary with nearly three times more visitors than last year.
Staheli Family Farm had so many people flooding to 3400 South Washington Fields Road Saturday night that visitors were informed it could be a three-hour wait for the Field of Screams- southern Utah’s only haunted corn maze.
I’m not that brave, let alone patient, so I headed to the “Stories and S’Mores” event held every Monday, Friday and Saturday at the farm. I expected orange flames to light the way, but further investigation took my family and me to a small campfire instead. S’more kits were sold for two dollars each and included giant marshmallows that fed a good three of us. It was a fun little activity, visiting around a fire we didn’t have to maintain or build, yet it kept our hands warm and provided entertainment–better, in my opinion, than a three hour wait.
Owner Sherrie Reeder said this season was extremely big for the farm.
“We were all in shock,” she said. “Admission has tripled from last year and if anything we’ve advertised less. I think a lot of it is word of mouth and that there aren’t a lot of haunted houses in town and people like that.”
I was surprised to see the packed parking field filled with cars from Nevada as well as some from Washington and California, but Reeder wasn’t surprised.
“People are looking for Halloween fun,” she said. “Halloween is the second largest holiday in exception to Christmas and I’ve had visitors tell me they drove eight hours from Arizona and that coming to our farm is their new family tradition.”
Reeder said visitors stay an average of four hours, and that’s not just because of the wait. The farm resembled a zoo, people everywhere and kids crazy with excitement. They raced rubber ducks, swung across hay bells on rope swings, posed for pictures with animals and bounced along a gigantic inflatable pillow. In fact the pillow looked so entertaining even my mom jumped in on the fun.
Randy Cosby from Ivins took his son to Staheli Farm for a father-son date night. He said his son loved the air pillow, but his own favorite was the corn maze. They wandered around the maze for an hour and then returned to check out the other festivities.
“We’ve come by Staheli Farm lots of times over the years, but I’ve never seen it this busy,” Cosby said. “It’s cool that they have tons of people, but I’d return on a different night, probably in the middle of the week like I’ve done before.”
Cosby said having two entrance lines would probably speed up the wait time, but he said, “they can only do so much. It’s good weather and it’s something to do. There’s not much else to do this time of year.”
Reeder said she feels bad people have to wait so long for the Field of Screams, but she said if you’ve been to a haunted house you know that kind of wait is normal.
“You feel bad about the wait so we try to get people through every two minutes, but you still want them to get their money’s worth,” she said. “Thankfully we’ve never heard people complain that the wait wasn’t worth it.”
Country, eighties and hip-hop music blared from the pavilion and kids jumped on stage to dance to their favorite tunes. Families enjoyed a variety of fall foods including soup, scones and caramel corn cobs and other activities including a cow train, stick horses, corn cannon, pig races and pumpkin slingshot. Seniors, toddlers and teens joined in, everyone grateful, it seemed, for the fall fun.
Shannon Young from St. George had never been to Staheli Farm, but friends told her about the Field of Screams and they headed out to Washington Fields to try it.
“The wait sucks and admission is pricey, but the point of Halloween is to be scared so we might as well,” she said. “You only get to do this once a year.”
For more fun at the farm, visitors have one last chance to have Breakfast with a Witch, a fun event held only a few times before Halloween. This Saturday boo-berry pancakes, scary scrambled eggs and freaky-fresh fruit will be served along with stories, tricks and spells for ten dollars each or 50 dollars for a family of six.
Overall, Staheli Family Farm exceeded my expectations. My family and I were entertained for three hours Saturday night. No wonder the farm has so many visitors. Everyone wants in on the party.
To plan a visit to the farm, visit their website at http://www.stahelifamilyfarm.com.