By DENNIS WYATT
What is orange, round and 10 feet in diameter that can get a 60-year-old farmer that’s 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds and arguably the biggest kid in Lathrop to the edge of his corn field without walking, driving, running, bicycling or even flying?
It’s Ron Dell’Osso, the inventor of the pumpkin blasters that shatter over 250,000 mini-pumpkins used as ammo each a year as young and old make their way to his family farm
The third generation Lathrop-Manteca farmer was testing one of six new attractions for this year’s 20th annual Pumpkin Maze that is open through Oct. 31 — The Giant Pumpkin Roll.
The attractions consist of 16 Zorb balls that are to some as human hamster balls. Guests buying entrance tickets can race on the Zorb balls against others on a large grassy field adjacent to the 15-acre corn field that encompasses three mazes.
“It was like trying to dive to a base,” Ron said after crawling back out
There is a 6-foot-3 height limit and a 36-inch minimum.
Also new this year:
*Three high strikers or strongman games designed for various levels where participants take a mallet and try to send a puck up a tower to strike a bell.
*two giant checker boards.
*Amish made playground-style attractions made out of wood that includes a Jeep and train kids can climb and crawl over.
*a giant slide like you see at carnivals.
*Barnyard Baseball, Barnyard Football, and Barnyard Basketball where participants shoot mini basketball into hoops or throw baseballs/footballs thru holes.
This will mark the first year that all attractions — save for six— will be collapsed into the price of one general admission ticket.
In making the switch, Dell’Osso Farms will also go to demand pricing for the combined ticket for 18 of their 23 attractions.
High traffic times Friday through Sunday will be $17.95 per person while the price drops to $13.95 Monday through Thursday. There is an early bird special Monday through Friday for $10 that’s available from 10 a.m.
Excluded from the general admission tickets are gem mining, pumpkin blasters, zip lines, and pony rides that will all cost $6 apiece to access. Pumpkin painting is $5. Tickets will be sold at the specific attractions. There are separate charges for food, drinks, and general store items.
Based on the ammo consumed during the past 14 years, the number of mini-pumpkins sent sailing at speeds approaching 100 miles per hour as they are fired from bazooka-like pumpkin blasters toward various targets should surpass 5 million this year.
For more information go to www.pumpkinmaze.com.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org