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FUN DOWN ON THE FARM Pumpkin Maze in Lathrop adds 6 new attractions
209 INFO WHAT: 20th annual Pumpkin Maze WHERE: DellOsso Family Farm in Lathrop WHEN: Today through Oct. 31, daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last gate entry) COST: Admission covering 18 of 24 attractions is as follows: High traffic times Friday through Sunday will be $17.95 per person while the price drops to $13.95 Monday through Thursday. There is an early bird special Monday through Friday for $10 thats available from 10 a.m. PARKING: No charge. DIRECTIONS: From Highway 99 take the 120 Bypass west to Interstate 5. Stay in the right-hand lane and take the first exit (Manthey Road) after crossing the San Joaquin River. FOR MORE INFO: Go to


209 staff

Tom Sawyer would be right at home at Dell’Osso Family Farms.

It is where you can partake in the 20th annual Pumpkin Maze. The low-tech adventure tailored for families, teens, date night couples, and kids of all ages is open daily through Oct. 31.

It’s not a passive place where you step into a moving car on a track system and are entertained by high tech animation and electronics.

At Dell’Osso Farms kids young and old engage their imagination as they navigate three corn mazes covering 15 acres and a haunted house. Burning off excess energy is no problem whether it is taking a roll in The Great Pumpkin Race involving sixteen 10-foot in diameter Zorb balls, pedaling race cars around a track, riding a zip line, the Dell’Osso Express train, shooting hoops, or riding the bucking pumpkin among other thing.

The laid back atmosphere is a big bonus. It’s not a concrete jungle with manicured landscaping. Instead there are grassy fields and open spaces with nice landscaping touches.

Of course you can hunt for the perfect pumpkin to take home partake in everything from baked potatoes to funnel cakes and browse the general store for the best area creations from treats such as fresh pies, baked goods, and candy to handcrafted items.

Then there are the infamous pumpkin blasters. Some thought Ron Dell’Osso was out of his gourd when he fashioned a bazooka like device to fire off mini-pumpkins.

Fourteen  years and 4.9 million mini-pumpkins later the man who created the world’s first pumpkin blasters that can send the small gourds sailing in excess of 100 mph to ding steel targets is still growing his own ammo on 10 acres and welcoming upwards of 160,000 people each fall to his farm. Most of those visitors find it tough to resist plunking down $6 for a bucket of pumpkin ammo to allow them to blast away at steel and metal targets.

The Zorb balls are new this year. There is a 6-foot-3 height limit and a 36-inch minimum. The price is included in the general admission.

Also new this year:

*Three high strikers or strongman games designed for various levels where participants take a mallet and try to send a puck up a tower to strike a bell.

*two giant checker boards.

*Amish made playground-style attractions made out of wood that includes a Jeep and train kids can climb and crawl over.

*a giant slide like you see at carnivals.

*Barnyard Baseball, Barnyard Football, and Barnyard Basketball where participants shoot mini basketball into hoops or throw baseballs/footballs  thru holes.

They have also added a stage for entertainment although there won’t be musicians playing opening weekend.

This will mark the first year that all attractions — save for six— will be collapsed into the price of one general admission ticket.

In making the switch, Dell’Osso Farms will also go to demand pricing for the combined ticket for 18 of their 23 attractions.

High traffic times Friday through Sunday will be $17.95 per person while the price drops to $13.95 Monday through Thursday. There is an early bird special Monday through Friday for $10 that’s available from 10 a.m.

Opening  weekend — the first of five for the run that goes through Oct. 31 —  is traditionally the lightest. Most of the 160,000 annual guests come during the final three weeks of the month.

Excluded from the general admission tickets are gem mining, pumpkin blasters, zip lines, and pony rides that will all cost $6 apiece to access. Pumpkin painting is $5. Tickets will be sold at the specific attractions. There are separate charges for food, drinks, and general store items.

 For more information go to


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email