By Rick Miller

Pumpkinville will mark its 50th season this year with several new attractions, as owners Dan and Diane Pawlowski and their family have been busy getting ready for the special anniversary.

Opening day is Sept. 15.

“It’s always the third Saturday in September,” Dan said. Pumpkinville is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Halloween.

The Pawlowskis have operated Pumpkinville from their 200-acre farm on Sugartown Road for the past 23 years. They purchased the business from Joseph and Helen Holloran, who started it outside their home nearby on Route 98 in 1968.

The Pawlowskis invited members of the Holloran family to visit this year for the 50th anniversary. Joseph Holloran is deceased, while Helen lives in assisted living and cannot attend.

But their sons, Tom and Dan Holloran, who live in the Midwest, do plan on attending with their families for a week in October, Dan said. They have not visited Pumpkinville since their parents sold the business to the Pawlowskis.

“It’s been 50 years of family fun,” Dan said. “We wanted to make the 50th year special.”

His wife nodded in agreement. She runs the bakery and gift concessions with their daughter, Lisa. Their son, Jim, also works there during the summer and weekends in the fall season.

Lisa is a biology teacher in Franklinville and Jim is a physical education teacher in the Olean City School District.

This year’s new projects include a hill with multiple children’s slides, a new section called the Barnyard Ball Zone, and a new restroom facility that replaces numerous portables.

Jim “ramrodded” the slide project, Dan said. It’s not easy to make a more than 20-foot mountain, then build stairs to reach the top. Two of the slides are covered, while the other one is open.

Barnyard Ball Zone features football, baseball and basketball-sized holes in a customized wall made to look like a cornfield. Visitors can try their luck throwing balls through the holes. There’s a smaller version of the building for younger children next door.

The restroom facilities include baby changing tables in both the men’s and women’s restrooms and were built to Cattaraugus County Health Department specifications, Dan said and his son him were helped by a couple of out-of-state contractors with the construction.

“We’re 99 percent done with the construction,” Dan said.

The cider mill will be back in operation this season along with most of the other attractions that were here last year, Dan said people can expect to see all of the activities they saw at Pumpkinville last year —  plus the new ones.

Next year, Pumpkinville may add a new event, Sunflower Weekend, Dan said. Stay tuned.

This year’s corn maze will feature a tribute to Pumpkinville’s 50th year of making memories and family traditions.

And don’t forget the pumpkins. Thousands of them, in all sizes and colors, lined up on the ground and in bins.

In early August, the pumpkins in the U-pick patch are just starting to turn color.

Soon after Labor Day, it will be all hands on deck to pick pumpkins and display them in Pumpkinville.