Pixie Pumpkin Patch Launches into Fall

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Photo by Libby East

The cannon, mere seconds after being fired — try to spot the pumpkin midair.

Written by Libby East, Reporter

  An annual trip to the pumpkin patch is essential for any fall-loving individual. Pixie Pumpkin Patch, hidden in Knob Noster’s rolling hills, is a true treasure trove when it comes to fall fun. The patch offers a wide variety of activities and sights to see while choosing the perfect gourd. Antique wagons, fire engines and tractors are scattered throughout the patch, perfect for any aesthetically pleasing fall photo shoot. 

  The main event of this patch is the pumpkin cannon. Capable of reaching 105 psi, the cannon launches pumpkins hundreds of feet in the air, over the hills and into the creek beyond the property. UCM Alumnus Teddy Anderson is the main man behind this operation and has been running the patch since 2010, when it was originally only open to friends and family. Now, eleven years later, the patch sees hundreds of people daily and sells roughly 1,000 pumpkins a day throughout the fall months, especially in the days leading up to Halloween. 

  Anderson described the patch as more of a community service project than a business, as the prices are relatively low. The patch also serves as a gathering place for local church groups. 

 “We needed something for the whole community,” Anderson said. “So, we have some activities for the kids and schools, just for some fall fun.” 

  The patch features plenty of activities for children and their families, including a bounce pad, a zipline, a petting zoo, a playground, hay rides, paddle cars and an array of games. Horse rides are also offered, however unlike the rest of the activities, these are not included in the cost of admission.

 The patch partners with the local Amish communities and offers an assortment of homemade treats, both sweet and savory, as well as a variety of different fruit butters. 

LJ Lightburne loads the pumpkin cannon while the guests watch excitedly. The cannon, being powered by air pressure and capable of reaching 105 psi, launches pumpkins hundreds of feet in the air. (Photo by Libby East)

  Anderson, his kids and their significant others run the patch. Anderson’s son-in-law, LJ Lightburne, works there and his main job is gathering the patch-goers and initiating the pumpkin cannon. Needless to say, Lightburne loves his job. The pumpkin cannon fires twice an hour and there is a very precise process that leads up to the exciting finale. 

  “We do it in accordance with the tractor,” Lightburne said. “Whenever that tractor is coming back, everyone starts lighting up.” 

  When the tractor arrives at the patch, Lightburne sounds a siren, getting the attention of the guests from all corners of the patch. Then, with his booming megaphone, he begins to build anticipation by getting everyone excited for the launch. At the end of the countdown, the pumpkin is fired hundreds of feet into the air at a rapid speed. If visitors blink, they’ll miss it! 

  Katy Lightburne, Anderson’s daughter, runs most of the behind-the-scenes marketing. Most of the time, she can be found at the front of the patch, selling food, flowers and finalizing all pumpkin purchases. 

  “We’re the heart of it all,” Katy Lightburne said. “Everyone comes through me. I do all the pumpkins, the mums, the baked goods, everything.”

  A visit to the patch makes for long lasting, fun fall memories for families everywhere. This patch is simply the epitome of ‘small town friendliness.’