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Wild West fall fest is 'like family party' the community can join

Members of the Carter Farm family have been enjoying a kind of working family reunion around their 2022 fall festival.

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Who's that punkin in the pumpkin patch? It's Maryn Borth of Menahga, age 1-1/2, enjoying a relaxing moment during the fall festival Oct. 8, 2022 at Carter's Farm outside Park Rapids.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise
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Saturday was a perfect day for a trip to the fall festival at Carter’s Farm, west of Park Rapids.

Open weekends during October, the event formerly known as the Pumpkin Party was blessed with sunshine and warm weather after two cooler, damp weekends.

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Dominick Vretz, 11, of Park Rapids, hits the horn on a very patient steer with a lasso during the Wild West-themed fall festival Oct. 8, 2022 at Carter's Farm, west of Park Rapids.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

Families around the area took advantage, swarming the hay rides, outdoor games, corn maze and other attractions.

Anna Blake, a member of the Carter family that operates the festival, was helping out in the candy shop. “We’ve been blessed with better than last year and the year before,” she said.

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Darin Schultz and daughter Harper, 4, from Bemidji putt into a pig during the fall festival Oct. 8, 2022 at Carter's Farm.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

Despite the name change, the festival also featured pumpkins and various kinds of squash for sale, as well as live entertainment by Imaginick, a magician from Park Rapids, and Figuring It Out, a family bluegrass band from Bemidji.

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Steven Carter, who lives and works at the farm during the summer and fall took over the Pumpkin Party last year and changed its name.

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Kids bail down the straw-bale slide Oct. 8, 2022 at the Carter's Farm fall festival.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

He agreed that the first weekend of this year’s fall festival, Sept. 24-25, was a little slow, partly due to a rainy Saturday and a windy Sunday. Turnout the weekend of Oct. 1-2 had a great turnout, he said, despite some rain on the Sunday.

“Everything worked well,” he said. “It looks like this weekend is being pretty good, too. Perfect weather for it, perfect fall weather. The fall colors are out in peak right now. So, when they go in the woods (on the hayride), they can really see that.”

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Hazel Swanson of Hackensack, age 3-1/2, turns the crank to hoist a pumpkin to the top of a spiral slide Oct. 8, 2022 at Carter's Farm.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

Steven explained that the changeover happened when the farm’s former owners, his aunt Linda and uncle Tony Carter, moved to South Dakota.

“Tony still does strawberries under Red Wagon Farm,” said Steven, “but my uncle Dwight (Carter) owns Carter’s Farm. I’m technically under him, and I run the fall festival.”

New this year, he said, is the Wild West theme. “Last year was King Arthur,” he recalled. “If they go in the maze, people can learn about the Wild West.”

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Brooke Borth of Menahga, age 3-1/2, provides pump power for a rubber duck race at the fall festival Oct. 8, 2022 at Carter's Farm.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

Also new is the Corn Crib, a farm building that has been converted into a performance venue. Steven also pointed out a basketball shooting game built over a feeder box, still a work in progress.

“We’ve been doing the Pumpkin Party since I was little,” said Blake.”I’ve worked at the farm ever since I was employable.”

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Asked what she thought of this year’s fall festival, Blake said, “The store’s cuter than usual. It’s been really fun, because it’s kind of become our family reunion time, because summer’s kind of too busy with strawberries and tomatoes and such, and winter’s hard to travel. It kind of feels like a family party that various people from the community also come to.”

Steven said the extended family has been having fun putting on the festival together.

“We always want to improve each year,” he said, “and just make it tidier, make it more fun, make it more welcoming for all ages.”

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Related Topics: PARK RAPIDSEVENTSFESTIVAL
Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.
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