Vala’s Pumpkin Patch hosts its first-ever Labor Day event with this year’s Apple Festival

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Zach Gilbert
NEWS EDITOR

A visit to Vala’s is often a fun fall tradition for families across Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Vala’s Pumpkin Patch.

For the first time ever, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard will open for four days over Labor Day weekend, as it hosts the “Apple Festival” on Sept. 4-7, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

In order to reduce the size of crowds, admission to the festival will be limited and tickets must be reserved online. Tickets cost $13.95 per person, and children 2 and under are able to enter for free. Season passes will not be accepted for this event.

The Labor Day Apple Festival is a part of Vala’s staggered reopening strategy for the fall season. There will also be a season passholder weekend taking place the following weekend on Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sunday, Sept. 13. The pumpkin patch’s official opening date is Friday, Sept. 18.

As a part of the Apple Festival, Vala’s states that guests will be able to take advantage of free train rides, visit most of the pumpkin patch’s attractions and pick apples.

In addition, an array of festival foods will be available to purchase. Alongside traditional favorites such as caramel apples, chocolate chip cookies and kettle corn, Vala’s will offer caramel apple pie funnel cake sundaes, apple dumplings and apple cider donuts to tie in with the Apple Festival theming.

Guests over the age of 21 can purchase new homemade hard cider and hard cider slushies, as well as hard cider BBQ sauce that comes with every purchase of ribs and/or pulled pork.

For those who wish to score some Vala’s snacks without physically attending the event, Vala’s is hosting a curbside pickup event on Sunday, Sept. 6. Individuals can place an order online for pre-packaged festival foods and stop by on Sunday to pick up their purchases.

Private campfire sites are also available to rent throughout the festival, and they can be used from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sites must be reserved online, and prices vary based on the size of the campfire site and the group.

Aside from limiting capacity at the pumpkin patch and in buildings and adding new cleaning procedures, Vala’s is taking other precautions to properly respond to concerns about coronavirus. These safety measures will be instituted for the festival and continue throughout the rest of the season.

“Team members are required to wear masks at all times at Vala’s,” according to the official Vala’s website. “Guests over 2 years old are [also] strongly encouraged to wear masks, especially when they are not able to maintain a physical 6-foot distance between people.”

The pumpkin patch has worked to transition to cashless payment as well, and cash will only be accepted at admissions windows. All other locations will accept credit cards, debit cards or gift cards.

Vala’s is also recommending that guests consider visiting on days outside of the busy fall weekends.

“Visiting at off-peak times means less people [will be around],” Vala’s states on their website. “Traditionally, weekdays in September are slowest for us.”

Finally, when buying or redeeming admission tickets, in lieu of an official screening, guests will be asked three questions:

  • Have you been in contact with anyone who has tested positive or is seeking medical attention/testing for COVID-19 related symptoms?
  • Have you sought medical attention/testing for COVID-19 related symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
  • Are you currently experiencing, or have you experienced any of the following COVID-19 related symptoms in the last three days? (Symptoms include fever of 100.4 degrees or greater, shortness of breath, cough, chills, sore throat, muscle pain, headache and new loss of taste or smell.)

“The safety of our guests and team members is our first priority, especially now,” Vala’s states on their website. “A trip to Vala’s in 2020 is going to look different than it did in the past, but we hope you’re still able to create lasting memories with your families.”

For more information on the Apple Festival or Vala’s’ response to COVID-19, you can visit their website at https://www.valaspumpkinpatch.com.

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