Heart of Dixie’s Pumpkin Junction event receives national nomination

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

CALERA – The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum’s Pumpkin Junction has been nominated for “Best Pumpkin Patch” in USA Today’s 2023 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards.

Pumpkin Junction is one of 18 different pumpkin patches throughout the United States being considered for the award. It is also the only Alabama-based event being considered for any of USA Today’s 2023 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards. 

“We received an email telling us that we had been nominated and we were thrilled,” said Lindsay Barnett, events coordinator of The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. “USA Today’s as a number of Readers’ Choice, kind of topics that people can vote in for and just share their opinion. It seems like word-of-mouth advertising has gone from person to person to online.”

The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum has been running Pumpkin Junction, formerly known as “Pumpkin Patch Express”, for more than a decade in partnership with the nearby Ozan Winery & Distillery. The event is known for its hayrides, giant inflatable pumpkin and wine tastings for adults. 

“We’ve been enhancing the event each year and trying different things,” Barnett said. “It’s still developing and morphing into new and different directions, trying to make it the best it can be.”

This year, Pumpkin Junction will take place at The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum on Saturday Oct. 7, 14 and 21, and Sunday Oct. 8, 15 and 22. Tickets are currently available for purchase online at Hodrrm.org, but voting for USA Today’s best Pumpkin Patch will take place in September.

USA Today’s contest is held for four weeks, and the ultimate winner is determined by votes cast by viewers online. An individual can vote for their favorite pumpkin patch at 10best.com/awards/travel/best-pumpkin-patch-2023/ once a day. Voting ends Monday, Sept. 18, and the winners will be announced on Friday, Sept. 29 at noon. A full list of rules regarding voting in the contest can be found at 10best.usatoday.com/legal/awards/rules/.

The other pumpkin patches being considered for the travel award are:

-Ashland Produce of Rigby, Idaho

-Baugher’s Orchards and Farm of Westminster, Maryland

-Butler’s Orchard of Germantown, Maryland

-Cal Poly Pomona Pumpkinfest of Pomona, California

-Collegeville Orchards of St.Joseph, Minnesota

-Colony Acres Family Farm of North Liberty, Iowa

-Devine’s corn maze and pumpkin patch of Harrodsburg, Kentucky

-Hank’s Pumpkintown of Watermill, New York

-Huber’s Orchard and Winery of Borden, Indiana

-Johnson’s Corner Farm of Medford, New Jersey

-Kelder’s Farm of Kerhonkson, New York

-Pumpkinville at Myriad Botanical Gardens of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

-Queens County Farm Museum of Queens, New York

-Southern Hill Farms of Clermont, Florida

-Swans Trail Farms of Snohomish, Washington

-Tapia Bros. Farm of Encino, California

-Treworgy Family Orchards of Levante, Maine