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197,200 visitors flock to Lathrop over seven months
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LATHROP — Pumpkins, snow and mud have turned out to be big draws for Lathrop.

By the time the Mud Challenge wraps up on April 21-22, Dell’Osso Farms will have lured more than 197,200 visitors to Lathrop since October.

That includes:

• A record 150,000 attending the 14th annual Dell’Osso Pumpkin Maze during October.

• A new high of 40,000 people accessed the third annual Holidays on the Farm from Thanksgiving weekend through New Year’s Day.

• Some 7,200 who have plunked down $57 apiece so far for the Mud Challenge April 21-22.

The Pumpkin Maze was once again California’s No. 1 agricultural tourist attraction based on data gleaned by a national association. It is also expected that the Lathrop maze and accompanying activities will end up No. 2 nationally in 2011 once all attendance data from similar attractions are compiled. The 135,000 visitors that Dell’Osso Farms had during the 2010 run made it the third largest agri-tourism attraction during that year in the United States according to a trade organization.

Among events - agricultural related and otherwise - in San Joaquin County, the Pumpkin Maze is tops. The next closest is the Stockton Asparagus Festival that attracted 103,000 people last year.

The Mud Challenge is debuting in April at Dell’Osso Farms. The April 21 date is sold out with 5,000 sign-ups while 2,200 have registered so far April 22 to tackle the 3.47-mile challenge course that involves 16 “extreme” obstacles. Go to survivormudrun.com for more information.

Dell’Osso Farms ranks as the third biggest tourist attraction in the South County. Bass Pro Shops tops the list with over 2 million annual visitors and Big League Dreams with more than 430,000 paid attendees each year.

Should McWhinney Development build the proposed 600-room Great Wolf Resort with a 75,000-square-foot indoor water park and a 30,000-square-foot adjoining conference center just west of Costco in Manteca, they are projecting to draw 400,000 annual visitors.