Pumpkins, corn, photos still there to enjoy

Mesilla Valley Maze opens without maze


The Mesilla Valley Maze folks are bringing back the tradition and feel of the season, even if they can’t open a maze and offer hayrides amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Normally we have tours and festivals,” said owner Anna Lyles, who describes herself as the conductor of the place. “Now the rules are so restrictive, but we still have photo areas and farm art are where kids can try their hand at painting pumpkins or a canvas. You will be able to purchase roasted corn, to go only. Normally we cover 45 acres, but this year it’s within this haybale wall.”

Patrons of the long-time, family-friendly event can visit the farm’s Country Store & Pumpkin Junction each weekend through the month of October. Located at the traditional maze site at 3855 W. Picacho in Las Cruces, the Country Store & Pumpkin Junction will provide a taste of harvest season in a safe environment. There is no entry fee this year.

For $5 children, and their parents, can get a sealed pack with paint, paintbrushes and a pumpkin or canvas, to indulge their creative juices.

Between the store and the Pumpkin Junction, many of the usual items will be available, although everything must be purchased to-go. Store manager Joanna Salopek said they would have popcorn, kettle corn, honey and homemade fudge, as well as locally made reeds, tutus for children and scarecrow faces.

As to pumpkins, Lyles said there will be plenty.

“I think people will be coming out for the opportunity to take pictures and the pumpkins,” said Wendy Gallegos, part of Lyles’s management team. “The quality of the pumpkins that Anna grows is amazing. There are 25 acres of pumpkins, and the variety and quality is the best.”

Familiar crowd-favorite photo opportunities are still there, such as the family photo areas, two farm wagon backdrops and the traditional “How Tall this Fall” that measures how much children have grown each year.

“It seems like every family that comes here measures their kids there every year,” Lyles said. “I see postings from families keeping track of how the kids grow. It’s something they look forward to.”

The Country Store & Pumpkin Junction will be open every weekend in October beginning Friday, Oct. 2. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Public health guidelines prevent school tours from taking place at the maze or store this year. The staff will be operating within a set of safe and clean practices, and all health recommendations will be observed. There is no admission to visit the Country Store & Pumpkin Patch. Visit online at www.MesillaValleyMaze.com for more information.

 “For 22 years, families throughout the area have come to our maze for family fun and activity,” Lyles said. “Obviously, a big outdoor event wasn’t possible this year, so we came up with the idea of hosting a different kind of destination.”