According to owner Gale Apel-Sasse, the first day of
business is not typically as busy as later in the season. She said
that it gives her, her husband Dave and the helpers at the farm the
opportunity to get settled into the rhythm of the seasonal retail
business before the really big weekends that will come over the next
None the less, Apel-Sasse said that business on the first day had
been “steady” but not rushed, and she wasn’t at all unhappy about
how the day was going.
Gail’s Pumpkin Patch has been an annual visitor’s attraction in
Logan County since the fall of 2006. Dave and Gail Sasse had been
farmers all their lives and had raised a family, one son and one
daughter on the farm. But in 2006, the couple had what most refer to
as an “empty nest.” The couple’s youngest child, daughter Abrigail,
had gone off to college and that left a void that needed to be
Gail began working on the idea of a retail pumpkin patch as
something that she and Dave could do together, that would blend in
with their farming activities, and bring something new and
interesting to their community. Living in the country near Beason,
the couple saw a good return of shoppers that has grown continually
over the last 12 years.
Today the pumpkin patch is officially a local tourist attraction
that brings in visitors from all around the area. In addition to
weekend visits from “out of towners,” many local folk don’t
considered that fall has arrived until they make their annual trek
to the patch, and some will go multiple times in the season.
During the week, the patch plays host to a number of school field
trips. Gail and the staff that help at the retail shop enjoy having
the youngsters come out. Kids get a chance not only to see and
understand where their Halloween Jack O’Lantern comes from, but
there are also plenty of fun activities around the farm where kids
can cut loose a little bit.
Visitors will find a lot of the same familiar features as they have
in past years. There will be plenty of pumpkins at the barn, and
opportunities to go hiking out to the pumpkin patch to ‘pick your
The Sasse Apiary will have lots of honey products
from pure honey to honey donuts, and a few things in between. The
honey products are definitely a family product with Dave and Gail’s
children Nathan and Abrigail and their spouses, Beth and Doug,
providing the honey and other products inside the store including
copies of Abrigail’s cookbook.
Other items offered inside the shop include Amish made jams and
butters, apples, many grown on the Sasse farms, cider, an abundant
supply of fall and Halloween decorations, children’s books, games,
toys, and even Halloween costumes.
Other items include locally crafted items such as
doll clothing for the American Doll series, yard ornaments made from
old time field planter plates, and some really cute grasshoppers and
other items made from rail road spikes.
Outside visitors will find the lasso steer, large PVC pipe maize,
the children’s playhouse, goats, the pet rabbit, antique tractors
and a fun digging game where kids can find tractor parts buried in
There are swings and board games, picnic tables
where everyone can enjoy cider and popcorn, and of course, tons of
[to top of second column]
Gail pointed out that the patch is offering blue
pumpkins, pink pumpkins, hundreds of traditional orange pumpkins in
various sizes and shapes, gourds both fresh and dried, and popcorn,
both buy in the store, and pick your own on a wagon ride out to the
New this year is a big slide, suited for older kids
and adults. The roller slide was made by Dave and features a slide
made of PVC pipe that rolls as the slider descends. Gail said the
ride is bumpy and it is very, very fast!
There are also two new cars added to the barrel train. Though they
are not Cow-booses, the cow cars are larger and will accommodate
adult riders. Gail said they sometimes have grownups ask to ride in
the barrel train, but the blue barrels used for the kid sized ride
are too small for adults. This year, Dave crafted two larger cars
just for the big kids who visit. Gail said she wasn’t sure how that
would work out, but they are always willing to try something new if
they believe it will enhance the experience for visitors at the
The pumpkin patch will be open daily from now through October 31st.
Fall Farm Day will be Sunday, September 16th at the patch. There
will be extra activities with guests offered the opportunity to
learn more about the farm. Food will be offered for sale by Nuthatch
Hill Barbeque, and look for other surprise treats as well.
There will be craft activities for the kids, and of course, the
opportunity to go out to the patch and pick a pumpkin, or buy one
from their store.
New this year for farm day will be horse drawn wagon rides offered
by Jason and Keri Erickson. Many may remember the local couple for
their carriage rides offered in downtown Lincoln last year during
the Christmas season. In addition to the elegant white carriage the
Erickson’s have a horse drawn farm wagon that they will have at the
pumpkin patch. Be sure to look for them on Fall Farm Day, as it will
be a new and fun experience.
In all, if you are a regular customer at the patch, you will again
this year be pleased and delighted with all that is offered. If
you’ve never been, this is a good year to go. Harvest has been good,
the pumpkins are amazing, and the atmosphere, any day of the week is
light and fun.
Gail’s Pumpkin Patch is just off Illinoi Route 10 near Beason. It
can also be reached from the Atlanta area, look for signs near
Central Illinois Ag on Route 66 in Atlanta, then follow the signs
until your reach the farm.
The hours at the patch will be Sunday, and weekdays Monday through
Friday from noon to 5:30 p.m. with added hours on Saturdays from 10
a.m. to 5:30 p.m.