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COVID-19 brings changes to some C.O. pumpkin patches this year

(Update: Adding video, comments from DD Ranch owner)

TERREBONNE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The COVID-19 pandemic is changing how Central Oregonians celebrate fall traditions this year, and a Terrebonne ranch that hosts an annual pumpkin patch and hay ride is making some adjustments.

Jeff Anspach, the owner of DD Ranch in Terrebonne, said Wednesday they are looking for alternatives to hay rides, because of the close seating. 

“I haven’t updated my cow jokes yet for my hay rides, but I may just have to recycle my same old cow jokes,” Anspach joked.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed some financial challenges for DD Ranch. Anspach said 70 percent of their revenue comes from selling beef, pork and lamb, and the rest comes from school field trips and weddings, which, like many events, have been canceled this year.

“What agritourism does for us really helps subsidize our meat production,” Anspach said.

DD Ranch’s fall activities include the pumpkin patch, a petting zoo, a train for kids and a “cowboy arcade,” which includes a BB gun shooting range and an archery range.

Anspach said in an effort to distance children, he will separate children in the hay maze and kids’ corral into two groups.

He said the first few days will be a trial run, to see how strict they should enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Anspach said face masks will not be required when it first opens, because most activities will be held outdoors. However, if people cannot maintain at least six feet distance, the ranch will start enforcing the mask mandate.

They also plan a one-way flow of traffic throughout the property, including through the pumpkin patch. Anspach said they will also add handwashing stations in different areas and sanitize frequently-touched surfaces, including wheelbarrows.

As of Wednesday, Gov. Kate Brown’s statewide guidelines do not require masks in outdoor spaces, if at least six feet of distance can be maintained. The state also requires outdoor venues or event operators to limit capacity to a maximum of 250 people.

Anspach said he is not worried about crowds exceeding the limit.

“I think we’ll do more than that in the course of the day, but at any point of time, I don’t think we’ll exceed 250,” he said.

DD Ranch will open to the public Sept. 26 and will stay open until Halloween.

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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