Though Gail’s is a retail establishment, it also
qualifies as a local tourist attraction because of the variety
of activities and offerings at the patch.
Located on the farm of David and Gail Sasse, the pumpkin patch
opened its doors for the first time in the fall of 2006. The
Sasses are fourth generation farmers of the land, with the farm
passing from Harold and Rosemary Apel to their daughter Gail and
The two have raised their family on the farm and their children
Nathan and Abrigail have also made their own personal
contribution to the patch.
According to David Sasse, this year was precarious for the farm
as the couple struggled to decide what they could and could not
do in the face of the coronavirus. David said that they had
conversations with several other pumpkin patches and learned
what those businesses were going to do. After much
contemplation, David and Gail decided to move forward with their
September 1st opening. At the same time, they took into
consideration aspects of their patch that could pose particular
hazards to the public.
They made the difficult decision to not host their annual farm
day in September. Typically on Farm Day the patch hosts some
special guests and activities. For the last few years they have
featured horse drawn wagon rides, the Nuthatch Hill BBQ wagon,
and live music. They also have had special youth activities
including pumpkin and face painting and a variety of games and
activities. All of those activities require guests maintaining
close proximity to one another, so the day was canceled for the
safety of the public.
David also noted that this year there will be no popcorn wagon
rides for visitors. A feature that was added a couple of years
ago which included guests piling into a specially built wagon
and taking a ride out to the family’s popcorn fields. Once
there, guests could pick their own popcorn to take home with
And, finally, in the play yard behind the sale barn, the little
red barn will be closed this year. The barn was a playhouse for
young children with games and toys. Because there would be too
much risk to children passing along germs to one another, the
barn doors will remain closed and a bench has been placed in
front of the barn to keep folks from opening the doors.
In spite of the reduction of offerings, there is still plenty to
do at the patch and visitors should be able to enjoy the trip to
the country on a bright fall day. The barnyard is filled with
displays of pumpkins and gourds. Those who want the full
experience of visiting the farm are still welcome to go “pick
your own” pumpkin in the fields behind the barnyard.
Gail Apel-Sasse said that they are going to take a shot at
running the small barrel train around the barnyard, but aren’t
sure yet how well that will work out. So on the days you go, the
train may or may not be running.
The pumpkin patch is currently growing its orchards and has
apples to offer inside their retail store in the barn. The
apples are not pick your own, though visitors can walk among the
trees and see the bright red and yellow fruits growing.
There are several cut-outs where children (and adults) can poke
their head in and have a picture taken. And, the annual ‘how
tall are you’ yard stick is carefully mounted on a porch post at
the front of the barn. The yard stick is a popular place for
visitors and there are a number of folks who visit yearly and
each year kids or grandkids pose at the yard stick for their
Outside the slide, swing-set, the bumper slide, trike path, bull
lasso, and large black tunnel maze is still open and readily
available for kids and grown-ups if they so choose.
Picnic tables are set up outside, and inside the barn a big part
of the retail offering includes the baked goods made with
pumpkin or honey, both products of the farm. One can also
purchase bags of popcorn inside so visitors can buy a snack and
enjoy it outside on the picnic tables.
Of course, a mainstay at the farm is the animals. This year
there are a number of friendly cats and kittens running about
and rubbing on the legs of visitors seeking attention. The goat
lookout is manned by Penny and Dotty. Both are very friendly and
anxious to come to the fence and say hello. Goat food can be
purchased in the store for twenty-five cents a cup. Beware
though, goats can bite. To feed the goats, pour the food in the
special feeder mounted on their fence.
Also inside the barn is the 1948 John Deere A tractor that David
restored himself. The tractor has a staircase built on the back
for easy access to the driver’s seat. Many is the child who has
sat behind the wheel while mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa snapped
The retail area of the barn has so much to offer. From apples to
cider to baked goods and Amish made fruit butters, jellies and
jams, there is a huge variety of items to choose from in
addition to pumpkins. Also inside the barn, the retail section
offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor décor items themed
for fall and Halloween.
The patch offers a large variety of pumpkins for decorating
including special shapes and unique or unusual colors. There are
also a variety of pumpkins and squashes offered suitable for
eating. Shoppers should know, there is a difference. An
ornamental pumpkin is not necessarily good for eating, and an
eating pumpkin is not always the best choice for carving a
Gail, David, and their excellent team of helpers are well
equipped to advise you on what to buy based on your personal
In the end, though this year is different, there are many, many
things that are still the same at Gail’s Pumpkin Patch. If you
didn’t find your way there during the game, please try to find
your way there soon. You will have fun, you will be treated
well, and regardless of whether or not you make a purchase, it
will be a trip well worth your time.
Please note, the patch is going to be closed on Tuesdays this
year. Due to the coronavirus the staff at the farm will use that
day to deep clean critical areas of the retail location.
Find more details here:
“Eye Spy” with Lincoln Daily News