LATHROP —Ron Dell’Osso likes to let people play with the food he grows.
Not only do people trample through his 25-acre corn maze, but he also grows his own ammo so they can have a blast firing pumpkins off at upwards of 120 mph per hour from a device that resembles a bazooka.
Dell’Osso Farms is now in its 17th year. The paid attendance of almost 200,000 last year makes it the biggest agri-tourism attraction in California.
The wildly popular “pumpkin blasters” welded from steel were designed as a secondary attraction but they regularly get more attention than the main attraction. For $5, you get a bucket of ammo — 12 mini-pumpkins to be exact — that you can fire away at targets that include the standard open mouths on Halloween characters, junked cars, and hanging tires.
If you don’t think a mini-pumpkins is as hard as a rock, try to smash one by slamming it into the ground.
The Pumpkin Blaster version the public fires is much milder than one of Dell’Osso’s blaster prototypes — a shoulder held model — that sent a miniature pumpkin into sub-orbit the first time he fired it from outside his barn. The hand-held PVC version sent a mini-pumpkin well over 600 feet and got it enough altitude to clear the five-story brick silos that are visible from Interstate 5 at the Dell’Osso Farms off Manthey Road.
The pumpkin blasters are a sideshow to the main event: A massive corn maze accessible off Interstate 5 at the Mathney Road exit just south of the Highway 120 Bypass interchange.
In addition to the corn maze, there are other attractions — both paid and free — including a haunted house, train ride, scarecrow hay wagon ride, zip line, petting zoo, free racing trike ride, a confidence rope and tower course, a bucking pumpkin ride, a mini-train that goes around the corn maze, hay rides, and a spinning pumpkin ride reminiscent of a spinning tea cup ride and more.
The event also features a 2-acre picnic ground, free parking, food and lots of areas for the kids to play. There is no admission fee to access the grounds.
The maze and the rest of Dell’Osso Farms is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting Oct. 4 through Halloween.
For more information, visitwww.pumpkinmaze.com
.Dell' Osso Farms 2014 Events
October 4 — OPENING DAY of the 17th Annual Pumpkin Maze at Dell'Osso Family Farm; Scarecrow Contest begins.
October 4 -5 — 8th Annual Boy Scout & Girl Scout Weekend (Open to the General Public)
October 5 — Guide Dogs for the Blind on the Farm Event
October 25 — Dog Costume Contest: Next to glow stick booth, FREE to all participants at 1 p.m. Prizes for the winners!
October 31 — 8th Annual Scarecrow Contest “People’s Choice Award Ceremony” at 3 p.m. Guests will cast their votes throughout the month of October for their favorite scarecrow.