Apple Orchards, Fall Fests Reopen

CHICAGO SUBURBS, IL — Most apple orchards and fall-centric attractions across the Chicago area will open, or already have, but don’t forget to bring your mask. The farms will have special rules in place to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus and are asking visitors to wear masks while indoors and when it’s not possible to keep a safe distance while outside at crowded farms.

Some farms have dropped popular attractions, like wagon rides, due to COVID-19, and others have shorter hours this year. But most other attractions and fall favorites are forging ahead as usual, and, like most businesses, telling people who are sick to stay home, encouraging hand washing and asking people to keep their distance from each other.

Here is a look at what you need to know, including the rules in place surrounding COVID-19, if you want to stop by the best apple orchards and fall festivals in the coming weeks:

McHenry County

All Seasons Orchard

More via All Seasons Orchard website

Prairie Sky Orchard

  • Address: 4914 N. Union Road, Union

  • Hours of operation: Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For fewer people, visit Monday through Friday.

  • Details: Free parking and free admission. The no-frills u-pick orchard updates its website and Facebook page to let those wanting to stop out what is available.

  • COVID-19 Rules: Masks are required in the farm store, practice safe social distancing, and no animals, except licensed service animals, or outside food will be allowed.

More via Prairie Sky Orchard website

Richardson’s Adventure Farm

  • Address: 909 English Prairie Road in Spring Grove

  • Season dates: Sept. 12 through Nov. 8

  • Hours of operation: 3 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 12. On Friday, Oct. 2, and Saturday, Oct. 3, the Adventure Farm Grounds and corn maze are open until midnight.

  • Details: The 28-acre maze —which the farm touts as the world’s largest — opened Sept. 7. This year’s theme celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Along with the maze, there’s a 700-foot zip line and 50-foot observation tour; ORBiting, which involves riding inside a giant 11-foot ball; live pig races; jumping pillows; giant slides, pedal carts and wagon rides; a petting zoo; and campfires. Pick-your-own pumpkins are also available, and will likely be harvested after Sept. 24.

  • COVID-19 Rules: Richardson’s Farm is asking all visitors to wear masks inside buildings and whenever they cannot keep a safe distance from people in your immediate group, to wash and sanitized your hands regularly, follow social distancing guidelines, and to not stop out if you have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days or have any symptoms. They are also encouraging anyone who has an underlying medical condition or who are immune compromised not to visit.

  • Cost: Prices vary by event. Check the farm’s website.

More information via Richardson’s Adventure Farm website.

Royal Oak Farm Orchard

  • Address: 15908 Hebron Road in Harvard

  • Season dates: Aug. 22 to Nov. 1

  • Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 pm. Friday through Sunday.

  • Details: The orchard has a large variety of apples available. For crop updates and the cost for admission to the apple orchards, visit the Royal Oak crop website. Activities at the orchard include: playground, petting zoo, carousel, hay ride, orchard tour rides and apple tree maze. Some of the activities and rides cost more and have varying hours so check the website for additional information.

  • COVID-19 rules: Royal Oaks staff will be wearing masks at all times and guests must wear masks every day of the week when inside any building and anytime they are standing in line. On weekends and holidays, masks must be worn everywhere on the farm and for all outdoor activities. If a six-foot distance is not possible during the weekdays, visitors should wear masks while outdoors. The farm will not be offering its wagon rides out to the orchard this year and weekend orchard tours and group tours are also not available this season. For all the rules, visit the Royal Oaks website.

More information via the Royal Oak Farm website.

Lake County

Heinz Orchard

  • Address: 1050 Crest Road, Green Oaks

  • Season Start: Opening day is set for Sept. 18

  • Hours of Operation: The orchard will be open on Fridays and Saturdays and hours will depend on crop size. The orchard will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 18. The website will be updated with hours of operation.

  • Cost: No admission or parking fees.

  • COVID-19 Rules: Masks must be worn at all times and if the orchard becomes overcrowded it will shut down prior to the posted closing hour. There are no bathrooms available, there will be no sampling of fruit and there will be no picnicking, playing or gathering allowed in the orchard. Only one person per group is asked to wait in line, no eating or drinking will be allowed anywhere in the orchard and people are encouraged to socially distance as much as possible. There will be no field trips this year or groups/parties allowed.

More information via the Heinz Orchard website.

Goebbert’s Farm and Garden Center

  • Address: 40 W. Higgins Road in South Barrington

  • Season start: Goebbert’s Fall Festival opens on Sept. 19 and runs through Halloween.

  • Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

  • New this year/Admission costs: General admission of $16.99 for those 3 and older will be charged on Saturdays and Sundays and Columbus Day. Buying tickets online will be the way to go since capacity is limited at the popular fall attraction. The entrance fee will also include access to the farm as well as admission to animal land, little farmer’s play yard, haunted house, wagon ride and magic show. On Monday through Friday, there will be no admission charged but there will be additional fees for activities such as the corn stalk maze, pumpkin eating dinosaur, the pumpkin tunnel, and more. Goebbert’s also has its Red Barn Cafe & Bakery for some tasty treats, including Apple Cider Donuts and Pumpkin cookies.

  • COVID-19 Rules: Goebbert’s will have capacity limits in place and will require visitors to wear masks when entering the farm, while indoors and when it’s not feasible to socially distance. Additional safety guidelines can be found on Goebbert’s website. Visitors are encouraged to buy tickets before they head to Goebbert’s to guarantee entrance to the farm.

More via the Goebbert’s Farm and Garden Center website.

Kane County

Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch & Apple Orchard Pingree Grove

  • Address: 42W813 Reinking Road in Pingree Grove

  • Season dates: Aug. 28 through Halloween

  • Hours of operation: Goebbert’s fall festival is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

  • Details: Haunted house, kiddie playland, carousel, straw maze, singing chickens, a pumpkin-eating dinosaur, pumpkin express train, pedal carts, animal land with a giraffe barn and pig family, pumpkin cannon and more. There are also u-pick apples available. Goebbert’s doesn’t offer apple picking as its own activity, but guests can choose to pay for apple bags and pick apples in addition to their fall festival admission.

  • Cost: There is free parking. General admission tickets cost $12.99 on week days and $16.99 on weekends and Columbus Day. Children 2 and younger are free.

  • COVID-19 Rules: Masks are required to enter and are required to be worn at all indoor attractions, and also when it is not possible to socially distance. Those stopping out are encouraged to purchase online tickets as capacity will be limited at the farm. Tickets can be purchased on the Goebbert’s website and additional information on safety guidelines can be found there as well.

More via the Goebbert’s website.

DeKalb County

Kuipers Family Farm

  • Address: 1N318 Watson Road, Maple Park

  • Season dates: Aug. 22 through Oct. 31

  • Hours of operation: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The pumpkin farm opens on Sept. 19 and includes several attractions.

  • Attractions: Pig races, corn maze, tractor train, tractor tire mountain, farm animals, haunted forest and Jed’s scream shed, pedal tractor derby, mountain slide, cornstalk cavern and more.

  • Admission: Tickets and reservations are required for peak weekends, which run from Oct. 3 through Oct. 25. The cost is $19.99 for ages 3 to 64 years old and $11.99 for ages 65 years old and older. Paid admission includes a pumpkin. Reservations are not required for non-peak weekends before Oct. 3 or weekdays, but tickets still can be purchased online. The cost for non-peak weekends is the same as peak weekends. Admission on week days for ages 3 to 64 years old is $17.99 and ages 65 years old and older are $11.99. More information or to purchase tickets visit the Kuipers Family Farm website.

  • COVID-19 Rules: Masks will be required at admission areas and the market.

More details via Kuipers Family Farm

Indiana Orchards

  • Address: 200 S. County Line Road, Hobart, Indiana

  • Season dates: Sept. 3 through Nov. 1

  • Hours of Operation: UPick and attractions are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The orchard’s big barn is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Details: Daily attractions include u-pick apples and pumpkins, kids farm, the moo-choo train, corn maze and soybean maze and weekend attractions include peter the pumpkin-eating dino, barnyard jams, and campfires and hayrides.

  • Cost: Varies by variety; check the website. $1 U-Pick general admission. More info on events and passes on the website.

  • COVID-19 Rules: Masks are mandatory.

More information via County Line Orchard website.

Wisconsin Orchards

  • Address: W6384 Sugar Creek Rd., Elkhorn, WI

  • Season dates: Pick-your-own starts on Sept. 19

  • Hours of operation: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Details: You-pick apples, a winery, country store and bakery. Apple varieties available listed on the website.

More information via the Apple Barn Orchard and Winery.

  • Address: 5006 S Sylvania Ave., Sturtevant, WI 53177

  • Season start: Aug. 28; picking season varies based on apple variety. Pumpkin season starts in October.

  • Hours of Operation: The orchard is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

  • Details: Apple and pumpkin picking festival and orchard market and bakery barn are open.

  • Cost: Free parking along Frontage Road at your own risk; paid parking in September and October. Picking packages start at $15.

  • COVID-19 Rules: All employees and visitors should wear a face mask, keep their distance from each other, and stay at home if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or if someone you were recently in contact with is showing symptoms. Visitors should wash their hands frequently when they arrived and use hand sanitizer.

More via the Apple Holler website

This article originally appeared on the Algonquin-Lake In The Hills Patch

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