HUMBOLDT - Bob and Lonnie Larson raise many types of horses on their family farm, but most of them can't dance. For that, they've called on Kelly Christine Reynolds and her dancing horse, El Gato.
Reynolds' act is part of the Larsons' goal to make every year's Pumpkins and Ponies event bigger and better than the last.
"We try to add a little something new each year," Lonnie Larson said.
Some things stay constant every year. Kids of all ages will still get to pick their own pumpkin from the Larsons' one-acre pumpkin patch overlooking the Des Moines River Valley and enjoy free rides on a pony.
"We'll have six to eight ponies and they go all day long," Larson said.
This will be the seventh annual celebration, and it will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Spring Vale Farm, 2603 Lone Tree Road, Humboldt. If it rains, the event will be rescheduled for noon to 4 p.m. the following day.
If you go:
WHAT: Seventh annual Pumpkins and Ponies celebration
WHERE: Spring Vale Farm, 2603 Lone Tree Road, Humboldt
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Rain date is noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 14.
The Larsons raise gaited horses called Missouri foxtrotters as well as a collection of ponies in all sizes. But Lonnie Larson said she didn't grow up around them.
"Growing up, I loved horses and ponies, but I didn't have the opportunity to go riding," she said.
Then she had the chance to visit the Winkleman Pony Farm, a family farm near Lohrville that let kids ride. It made an impression on her.
The Pumpkins and Ponies day is a chance to expose kids to the working farm life too, she said.
"In this day and age, so many kids don't have the opportunity to come out to a farm, to be around farm animals and certainly not to experience having a horse or pony ride," Larson said. "Bob and I have always been thankful for our life on the farm and the chance to interact with the land, horses and other farm animals. Providing other people an opportunity to visit the farm is something we feel privileged to be able to do."
A Humboldt 4-H Club, Bits and Bridles, that specializes in horse projects, will help run the pony rides, she said.
"They use this as one of their community service projects," she said.
Kids can view various types of farm animals, including chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, a miniature donkey, ponies, baby pigs and different breeds of horses.
"The animals have always been a big hit," she said.
Two horse-drawn wagons and one antique tractor wagon will transport people from the farm to the pumpkin patch all day. Pumpkins, squash and other farmers market items will available.
Singer Von Ketelsen will return to the celebration and provide live music.
Reynolds' act is new this year. So is an antique tractor display, with several makes and vintages supplied by area collectors and farmers.
Lunch will be provided by the Badger Lutheran Church youth group. Boy Scouts will assist in carrying pumpkins to cars.
There will also be a professional photographer on hand.
Larson said the goal of the day is to provide family fun that's affordable. There is no admission charge; volunteer help is key to making the celebration possible.
"We have a wonderful crew of family, friends and neighbors who lend their helping hands and keep everything running smoothly throughout the day," she said.
The event has always been popular.
"Last year we estimated we had a good strong 1,500 people in attendance, and we're expecting at least that this year," she said.
"There will be something for all ages. It's not just about the little ones who like to ride ponies or who like to go out and pick their pumpkin for Halloween time."