By ROSE ALBANO RISSO
You don’t have to look far, nor wait for nightfall, as Peanuts’ fictional Linus van Pelt always seems to do anxiously around Halloween, to find the Great Pumpkin.
One of the nearby places in Manteca, Ripon and Lathrop where the colorful giant gourd is conveniently available for picking is Perry’s Pumpkin Patch. The recently opened October family-outing destination for both young ones and young once is right in the back end of Perry’s Market located at 13881 S. Highway 99 Frontage Road in Manteca. That’s on the west side of the freeway, the same side as Delicato Winery about a mile south. It can be reached either via French Camp Road or Lathrop Road.
It’s your regular pumpkin patch all right, but this one is more than that. The visually attractive layout dominated by a wide variety of color, sizes — and outstanding skin textures— incorporates several attention-getting photo props and fun games that the whole family can spend a rollicking time.
There’s a photo stand, for example, where a pair of scarecrows are seated on hay bales with openings where their hat-covered heads are supposed to be so visitors can superimpose their faces and have their pictures taken. And if the interactive game called Jenga is your word for fun or challenge, a larger-than-normal block-stocking and stack-crashing teetering tower of wood blocks is right next to it.
Welcoming visitors to the pumpkin patch at the back end of Perry’s Market is a giant smiling Hank Scarecrow wearing a plaid shirt and straw hat. He is available for photo ops, too. He is a figurative entrance sentinel that welcomes everyone to the rows and piles of colorful gourd varieties. Those who are looking for the hefty giant McPumpkins won’t be disappointed.
And while there’s plenty of the traditional rounded orange gourd — the ones fit for carving Jack-O-Lanterns for making pies, for example, there are seemingly endless varieties to challenge your decor ideas not just for Halloween but on to Thanksgiving and even for a visually live Christmas. They come by names like Cinderella (because they remind one of the beloved fictional character’s carriage), and the cute mini varieties with fun names such as Baby Boo, Bumpkin and Munchkin. There is also a group that are called Autumn varieties because of their interesting textures and colors that include blue.
Perry’s Pumpkin Patch is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
For more details, visit their page on Facebook.