CHINOOK — Eight-year-old Sarah Robinson rested the giant pumpkin on her knees and re-gripped the colossal gourd like a strong man preparing to hoist an Atlas Stone.
It was the perfect pumpkin after all, and Sarah was determined to drag it from the patch, even if it was nearly the same size as her.
The Robinson family, from Astoria, were among hundreds of kids and family members from around the area that attended a grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Rhett’s Ranch in Chinook, where an assortment of rustic fall family fun awaited including a pumpkin patch, haunted hayride, witch’s castle, hay bale maze, tractor tire playground and friendly farm animals.
The ranch was the vision of owner Anne Mattson, who developed the space as an outlet for family fun in memory of her son, Rhett, who died in July 2019.
Unique family fun close to home
The first eager attendees arrived at 10 a.m. on Saturday, roughly two hours before the anticipated opening at 12 p.m. By early afternoon, a field across from the ranch was already filled with rows of cars. Approximately 400 people attended over the weekend, according to Mattson.
The pumpkin patch was the first stop for many eager to pick the perfect pumpkin to carve at home. Some rejoiced not having to drive further away to experience the fall pumpkin patch tradition.
“Our first stop was the pumpkin patch,” said Allison Bonney, of Long Beach who was joined by Jayson Wardell and 21-month-old Sofia Wardell. “All the orange is fantastic.”
The ranch and activities were spread among several acres, allowing ample room to socially distance while entertaining the kids for hours.
“We’ve been here for four hours,” said Raeanne Wilson. “The kids are having a blast.”
The sentiment was common among parents who had been seeking a safe outlet for family fun, particularly since covid-19 outbreak.
“I’m sure we’ll be back sooner than later,” said Frank Shucka who brought two kids, Vivian, age 3, and Talon, age 7.
Admission was free. Tractor rides were $2 per person (and free for children under age two) and pumpkins were sold for 75 cents per pound.
Mattson said the turnout far exceeded expectations but wouldn’t have been possible without strong community support from the start.
“There’s been so much support, more than I could have ever imagined. Everybody has been super positive. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It makes my heart happy,” Mattson said.
For more information on upcoming events, visit Rhett’s Ranch on Facebook.