LATHROP - Ron Dell’Osso likes to let people play with the food he grows.
Not only do people trample through his corn maze that has a NASA theme this year but he also grows his own ammo so they can have a blast firing pumpkins off at 100 mph per hour from a device that resembles a bazooka.
Dell’Osso Farms - now in its 14th year - is on pace to match the record-setting attendance of 140,000 from the 2009 season. Weekend rains and cold weather keep the attendance last year down to about 90,000.
“The weather has been perfect,” noted Susan Dell’Osso who is married to the self-described “55-year-old kid” who she is married to and partners with to stage California’s most successful agri-tourism attraction. “We keep seeing more and more families each year which is exactly what the event is designed for.”
The wildly popular “pumpkin blasters” welded from steel were designed as a secondary attraction but they regularly get more attention than the main attraction. . For $5, 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. junked cars, and hanging tires.
The pumpkin blasters are a sideshow to the main event: A massive corn maze accessible off Interstate 5 at the Mathney Road exit just south of the Highway 120 Bypass interchange.
In addition to the corn maze, there are other attractions - both paid and free including a haunted house, train ride, scarecrow hay wagon ride, zip lines, cowboy storytelling, a confidence course, 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 no admission fee to access the grounds.
The maze and the rest of Dell’Osso Farms is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Halloween.
For more information, go to the website at www.pumpkinmaze.com.