Last month, Kyle went to a party. Really.
Every year, Kyle joins hundreds of other pumpkin patch owners/operators at a conference called the Corn Party. Owners of farms like ours from around the nation join together in different locations to discuss new things in the industry, learn from each other, and tour farms in that area.
This year, Kyle, Bruce, and Judy went to Dallas, Texas, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, touring places like Orr Family Farms, Mainstay Farm Park, and Yesterland Farm. He even went to a farm with a helicopter pad. Sweet bridal party arrival, right?! They also checked out the Canton, Texas flea market and even went to a rodeo (although Bruce didn't wear a big cowboy hat and boots, to my disappointment).
Even though I was most interested in the flea market (which looked awesome...it's the world's largest!), of course the most interesting stop they made was to a gas station, called Buc-ees (pronounced Bucky's), which is a Texas-sized chain of gas stations. You know the saying "everything is bigger in Texas"? Well that's true for gas stations, too. This place has everything. This location had 88 gas pumps and the store was over 40,000 square feet. You want real vintage trucks filled with candy? You got it. You want an entire wall full of stuffed animals? You got it. You want six or seven soda dispensers with every single soda or every single flavor option imaginable? You got it. Kyle, This was the most magical gas station any of them had ever been to.
Kyle has been going to the Corn Party for about 10 years now. Every year it is held in a different part of the country. He's part of a group called the MAiZE Group, which provides support and community for people in the ag tourism business and is owned by one of the first guys who got in the corn maze game. This group is also who designs our corn maze every year!
Kyle loves almost every part of this conference - the community and the exchange of ideas - but the neatest part for him is the farm tours. At farms in Texas to New York to Chicago to Arizona, Kyle's seen so many different ways to run a business like his and so many different set ups for the farms. The inspiration of many of our local farm activities has come from these tours. We have this conference to thank for the zip line, the tire mountain - even serving food, including apple cider donuts! (For which I am so, so grateful.)
This year, he got a few more ideas from these Texan farms, and you'll have to visit us this fall to see he has in store (he hasn't even told me!).
Fun on the farm...in blog form!