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6:29 AM Mon, Sept. 24th

Mortimer Family Farms, Freeman Farms kick off 2014 pumpkin festivals

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

When the air gets chillier, events in central Arizona tend to heat up.

Two of those events, familiar to those in the quad-city area, include the Mortimer Family Farms Pumpkin Fest and Corn Maze in Dewey, and the 2014 Pumpkin Festival at Freeman Farms in Chino Valley.

In Dewey, Mortimer Family Farms kicks off its festival today, Oct. 3, from noon to 9 p.m. The festival, which continues each weekend through October, features a 15-acre pumpkin patch and 25-acre corn maze. Other attractions include games, farm activities, live entertainment, barn dance, and much more.

Younger attendees can expect pig races, a farm animal petting zoo, a "buckaroo" pony corner, a farm slide, a corn bath, bubble run, roping dummies, an obstacle course, mutton busting, calf riding, straw maze, barrel train, and bounce playhouse.

Other festival attractions include an antique tractor display from the Mile High Tractor Club, craft vendors, and a farm dance every Saturday night in the 4/7 barn. The all-ages dance runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Cost for entry into the festival is $10 for the first night of festivities. Admission following the first day is $13 at the gate and $12 for those who order online. Admission includes picking a pumpkin at the farm.

Sharla Mortimer, Mortimer Family Farms co-owner, said the festival celebrates the farm's annual harvest.

"Fall is definitely a fun season here at the farm, with all of the harvest coming off, everything from pumpkins to all of our vegetables from the garden, all kinds of great things we're able to grow here at the farm," Mortimer said. "'Wanna Get Fresh' is our theme for the year and the corn maze is a ton of fun. The kids love to go through it in the evenings and after dark and pick their own pumpkins right off the plant."

Musical, as well as dance groups, will be at the farm throughout the day, she added.

"In the evenings we're going to have Friday night karaoke and fire dance group who will come out and do a fire dance presentation," Mortimer said. "They will come out Friday and Saturday nights. It's fun for the whole family."

For more information on the event, visit their website at www.mortimerfamilyfarms.com.

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In Chino Valley, Freeman Farms begins its festival on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 9 a.m. The Freeman Farms festival runs every Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the month of October. The festival also will be open Monday, Oct. 13, for Columbus Day.

The educational and interactive festival features a farm-themed merry-go-around, a petting zoo, hayride, kid's train, and a corn maze. Vendors, face painting and other concessions will be on hand.

Admission costs $15 for adults and $12 for children 3 to 17 years old, and includes entry into the U-Pick Pumpkin Patch. Discount prices are available for those who order early online.

For more information on the Chino Valley festival, visit www.azpumpkins.com.

- Story by Patrick Whitehurst, The Daily Courier