Question: How far can you lob a mini-pumpkin using a 6-foot bazooka-style barrel with sights?
Answer: About 200 yards.
The Pumpkin Maze at Dell’Osso Farms on Lathrop is back for its 19th annual daily run through the end of October including the wildly popular “pumpkin blasters” welded from steel. For $6, you get a bucket of ammo — 12 mini-pumpkins to be exact — that you can fire away at targets that include the standard open mouths on Halloween characters, a used car, and hanging tires.
People have stood in line — sometimes for hours — for a chance to shoot off the blasters.
Ron Dell’Osso — the farmer behind the annual October attraction that last year drew more than 160,000 visitors to make it the top aghri-tourism destination in California — literally plays with his food. Much of the mini-pumpkin ammo is grown on his 300-acre farm operation.
Pumpkins are serious business in Manteca and Lathrop.
Half Moon Bay can make all the exaggerated claims they want, but Manteca is the true Pumpkin Capital and it has its own festival to match.
Almost 8 out of every 10 pumpkins sold commercially in California go rumbling out of Manteca on trucks from now to the last week of October.
Fields around Manteca yielded 54,000 tons of pumpkins in 2013 with a gross value of $16.2 million. They virtually will all end up for decorative uses — except those that are splattered in the street or smashed against targets at Dell’Osso Farms’ pumpkin blasters.
The pumpkin blasters are a sideshow to the main event — a 60-acre corn maze accessible off Interstate 5 at the Mathney Road exit just south of the Highway 120 Bypass interchange.
In addition to the massive corn maze, there are other attractions — both paid and free including a haunted castle, rope course, train ride, hay wagon ride, zip lines, pedal race cars, a bucking pumpkin (think mechanical bucking bulls) and more.
The event also features a 2-acre picnic ground, free parking, food and lots of areas for the kids to play. There is also a country store, plenty of food options, plus a pumpkin patch.
The maze and the rest of Dell’Osso Farms is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Halloween. Admission to the grounds is free.
For more information, go to the website at www.pumpkinmaze.com