Vala’s Pumpkin Patch opens with new safety regulations


Photo taken by Kaitlyn Richardson of the new “Pumpkin Walk” at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch

For many local families, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch in Gretna, Nebraska, is a yearly tradition. Between the savory foods, sweet treats, vibrant pumpkins, and entertaining activities, it can be a memorable experience. Some were concerned at the turn of the season from the blistering summer to crisp fall, this tradition would have to be canceled this year. For some it is being passed on this year, but for those willing and able to participate, the tradition continues under new regulations. 

Upon entering the farm, there are signs posted requiring people over the age of five to wear masks when in line, in buildings, and whenever social distancing is not possible. These signs are posted throughout the farm as well, such as on the door to the haunted house, to remind people of the importance of wearing a mask. All staff members can be found wearing a mask from those in the ticket booth, those in the fields, and even the train conductor.  

Speaking of the train, with each activity that involves repeated contact with seats, handlebars, and other surfaces there are constant staff members around ready to sanitize between uses. This includes activities like the various bike tracks and the train. There are also frequent hand sanitizing stations throughout the farm. 

The food that many know and love, is still available, but at more limited times. The larger restaurants such as the Pie Barn are open as usual, but some of the smaller stands such as the chicken and waffles or potato stand, are open for more limited hours. 

If you go on a weekday, you are much more likely to avoid crowds, as an extra layer of caution if you feel necessary. There is a crowd tracker and calendar on their website showing the expected busy days, and the days they expect much smaller crowds.

On top of this, Vala’s has lowered their maximum capacity, so they recommend reserving tickets ahead of time. They are also screening staff members before every shift, and asking customers about symptoms and exposure upon purchase or redemption of tickets. 

As an added benefit, if you are a virtual or hybrid learner you can get in for a cheaper price, as they are not having as many field trips this year. The student and a parent or other adult would get in for the price they would normally charge for a field trip. 

Another precaution being taken, is Vala’s becoming cashless this season. You have to pay with a card or gift card at all places in the farm. 

Overall, there is definite effort being made to keep the tradition of Vala’s pumpkin patch alive for the fall of 2020. For more information, they have a full question and answer page on their website detailing the cautions being taken.