If you live in West Nipissing or the surrounding area you know how popular fall is at Leisure farms.
For many years the business has been a staple in the community, and especially during the fall season where thousands from across northeastern Ontario flock to their fields to enjoy a cool day of picking pumpkins, campfires, corn maze, hot chocolate, and always a good time.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many local businesses have had their hands forced to adapt to the new normal.
Leisure Farms is not exempt from taking those precautions.
It’s something that owner Mitch Deschatelets, is cognizant of.
“We need to limit the maximum amount of people who can be here at one time. Before it was the more the merrier… everyone was invited,” he shared. “Now, to have control over the amount of people here at any given time, we’re selling tickets online. It enables us to limit the number of people.”
He says the tickets will be sold in three-hour time slots.
“Unfortunately… it has to be that way this year. We have to limit people,” he said.
The fields flanking Leisure Farms usually see thousands of cars parked in them during any given weekend during the fall season.
Despite the need to sell the $22 (per person) tickets, Deschatelets says people will still be able to enjoy campfires, their haunted barn, pumpkin cannon, corn maze as well as the usual free hot chocolate and cookie.
“It’s pretty similar to what would be here in a normal year,” he said. “There are a few activities that we’ve taken out because we thought it would be too difficult to enforce social distancing, though. For example, people need to now walk to the woods in the back where our picnic area and Pumpkin canon is. We usually have wagon rides bringing people back and forth but it’s too difficult to have social distancing or a certain amount of people on the wagons.”
Deschatelets says that normally, many thousands participate in the activities.
“Unfortunately it won’t even be close to that this year. It’s just not allowed. It won’t be close to any of those big numbers. It’s been a very, very weird year. I’m sure many folks will be disappointed. But we only have so many spots, and so many weekends available. Usually, people don’t wreck their brains over when they’ll be here. They wake up on a weekend, and they come on down on a whim. It’ll be more difficult for them to plan,” he said.
Leisure Farms is selling tickets on a week by week basis. If someone is planning to attend on a specific weekend, tickets are on sale the Monday of that week.
Deschatelets says he’s encouraging everyone to purchase their tickets as early in the week as they can, as he expects tickets to sell out rather quickly.
“Because we’re not having any schools attending during the week this year, we also have time slots for sale during the week. They’re going to be cheaper, and have smaller groups. It will appeal to the homeschoolers in our community, or if parents can’t seem to make it work on a weekend they could always spend some time with us during the week as well,” finished Deschatelets.