An apple in motion helped Isaac Newton discover gravity.
It was back in 1665.
After contemplating an apple dropping from a tree limb and hitting the ground, it led Newton to determine there were forces at work that caused it to be pulled toward the ground instead of going sideways or even upward.
Ron Dell’Osso tries to defy gravity — using a bucket of apples at a time.
He doesn’t succeed, but boy, does he have fun.
While Newton — the proclaimed Father of Calculus — invented a lot of things, Dell’Osso gets credit for creating the pumpkin blaster.
If you have never ventured out to Dell’Osso Family Farm in Lathrop, you may not have any idea what a pumpkin blaster is.
When representatives of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force gathered at Dell’Osso Farms 22 years ago for a bit of fun competition, they marveled at how much the pumpkin blasters simulated the actions of a bazooka.
A pumpkin blaster is a weapon of massive wholesome fun.
The servicemen had a blast. And so does everyone who tries their hand at the blasters.
But you won’t be using the same ammo they did 22 years ago.
That’s because Dell’Osso is no longer among the few that can say they grow their own ammo. The seeds needed for the small pumpkin-like gourds haven’t been available so, in the past two years, the mini-pumpkins have been replaced by apples.
And because of that, every time you fire a blaster you get a jolt of massive fun.
“They’re much more consistent in their shape,” Dell’Osso said recently as he prepared to load a No. 2 apple — apples rejected as not being perfect enough for consumer tastes in a supermarket produce department.
And because of that the flight they take after one pulls the trigger is less random.
Dell’Osso, as the inventor of the pumpkin blaster, has some helpful tips.
*Take your first shot as a test to see the course it takes with the wind.
*Keep that in mind as you take your next shot.
*Aim to ring the bell.
*But if you can’t resist it, feel free to take aim at the other objects before you.
*And, most important of all, have fun.
Given the apples flying through the air once a blaster is fired have been clocked at more than 100 mph, they can put a few dents in a few things.
Take the car they placed in the tagged range at the start of this year’s pumpkin maze run on Oct. 1.
There wasn’t a dent on the car. The body was in pristine condition.
Now it looks like someone has taken a thousand sledge hammers to it although after three days the front windshield — a bit tricky to reach based on how the car was positioned — still was intact.
By the time Halloween rolls around, much of the car body will have been pulverized.
The pumpkin blasters are just one of dozens of ways to have wholesome family fun daily throughout October at the Dell’Osso Family Farm.
And all of that fun is because one big kid — the 66-year-old Dell’Osso — wants the youngsters and families today to enjoy the old-fashioned fun he had as a kid playing on the very farm where the pumpkin maze runs through the end of this month.
In the spirit of keeping smiles on the faces of guests and creating memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives such as the ones he made as a kid engaged in dirty clod wars or his efforts to use ropes to swing from treehouse to treehouse built in adjoining trees after watching Tarzan movies, Ron and his wife Susan keep adding attractions.
The two new ones this year are included in the price of admission — Slide Hill and Tiny Town.
Tiny Town is a unique destination complete with 12 walk-in buildings such as stores, a filling station, post office and barn fashioned by Lilliput Play Homes and placed around a plaza complete with streets, lights, and sidewalks.
“It reminds me of Disneyland’s Main Street,” noted Ron, who along with his wife Susan, launched the Dell’Osso Family Farm and Pumpkin Maze 26 years ago.
It even mimics the Disneyland Main Street parade with a twist.
Twice on weekdays and four times on Saturday and Sunday children are invited to do a quick rehearsal for a parade by professional actors. They then parade in costume on the street around the central plaza as their parents and others watch.
Every one of the 12 structures have things kids can do.
Gomes Motorsports Filling Station, which carries the name of the local racing team Dell’Osso Farms sponsors, has a vehicle you can change tires on along with pumps “dispersing” gas for $1.90 a gallon.
There’s a grocery store where kids can grab canned goods and such off shelves, ring them up and pay for them with an ATM.
There’s an Italian restaurant complete with table and two stools at a lunch counter that is so popular that there is standing room only.
The post office includes an outside mail box where you can drop letters into the slot and have them drop into the postal sorting area.
The jail has a cell where occupants can escape by “breaking” into the vault of the bank next door.
There is also a gazebo and town hall stage for performances.
Judging by the crowds it is a big hit with kids much to the delight of their parents.
Tiny Town is located next to the other new attraction — Slide Hill — that features five slides.
It is also a big hit.
“On the weekend it was so crowded it looked like ants were going up the hill,” Ron quipped.
Both attractions are included in the price of admission while the pumpkin blasters are $8 a bucket.
They join more than two dozen other attractions from a carousel that once graced Coney Island and a haunted house to train rides, children’s shows, hay ride, goat walk, pig races, spinning pumpkins, mini golf and more.
The only other attractions that cost extra are gem mining ($10), the carousel ($4), pony rides ($10) and pumpkin painting ($5).
There is also a massive pumpkin patch — arguably the largest in the area — where kids of all ages search for the perfect pumpkin.
In addition to the food court, there is a country store with fresh baked goods such as pies and apple spice doughnuts, as well as fudge, cookies, and other treats.
And to top off the perfect date night there’s Cider Hill. It features craft beers, hard cider and homemade pizza.
The maze opens at noon Mondays through Fridays and at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The last admission is 7 p.m. nightly while attractions start closing at 8 p.m.
Admission is $18.95 Monday through Thursday, $24.95 Friday, and $27.95 on Saturday as well as Sunday. Children 2 and under are free. Season passes are $69.95. Parking is free.
For more information go to pumpkinmaze.com.