Pumpkins, hay slide, caramel apples and cider at Emporium
With thousands of pumpkins, more than 100 scarecrows and a 15-foot hay slide, the Nevada Lynn Emporium in Washoe Valley is in full swing for fall.
On Saturdays and Sundays, the place is packed with families who come to warm up with hot cider, pick up a homemade peach pie, and get fall decorating items like bundles of corn husks.
“It’s a blast,” said store manager Stephanie Couch. “It’s busy, it’s noisy, kids are screaming and yelling and getting their faces painted, people are eating hot caramel apples.”
She said her store has something for everyone.
“An emporium is a store that sells a little bit of everything, and we’ve got it all: corn stalks, mini pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, dried fruits, nuts, homemade fudge, homemade pies, jams, jellies and pickles.”
During the week, the store is more quiet than on weekends. The pumpkin patch – complete with a spooky cemetery – is desolate, at least until the school groups arrive.
On Wednesday morning, 15 preschoolers from Under the Magic Pine Tree in Gardnerville showed up, and a group of Brownie Girl Scouts arrived in the afternoon. Later in the month, a group of 97 students is scheduled.
The dancing scarecrow rock band is perfect for little ones, Couch said. “They wiggle and giggle – it’s fun. We don’t want to scare anybody.”
Groups typically have a pumpkin-patch tour, take a class picture, play on the hay slide then have cider and cookies. Each child gets to pick a pumpkin to take home.
“We have special ones picked out that they can handle on their own,” Couch said.
She and her fiance, store owner Chip Garofalo, built the hay slide with its staircase of haybales up the back and a soft pile of straw to slide into.
The pumpkin patch contains thousands of the orange fruits from California’s Stockton area.
“When we got our first load in, we had like 25,000 pounds of pumpkins, which is like 35 bins,” Couch said.
“Special arrangements can be made for groups and stuff like that,” she said.