The "Gourd-Daddy" of Them All, Sinkland Farms, Prepares for Pumpkin Festival


It was a busy day Friday for the team at Sinkland Farms in Riner as they got set for their annual Pumpkin Festival.

"We started the Pumpkin Festival 21 years ago," said Lisa Sink, whose family owns Sinkland Farms. "It's been fun to grow up with this."

She says things have come a long way since they began growing pumpkins and selling them by the road.  It's now a full-scale production with hay rides, corn mazes, animals, food, vendors, live entertainment, and, this weekend, a world-champion "Punkin' Chunkin'" team called Team Carbo that can launch pumpkins 2,000 feet with their catapult.

"It's just a amazing to see it fly," said Michelle Mayfield, a member of Team Carbo. "A lot of times you don't see it hit, but you'll hear this thud, and it has such a rewarding feeling to it. It's awesome."

It's an event that takes months of planning. One thing the Sinks weren't planning on, however, was the wet summer weather.

"Our pumpkin crop isn't as hardy as it has been in years past just because of all the rain we've head this season," Sink said.

Still, she says they have more than enough pumpkins for the festival, and good pumpkins at that.

"This place is just great," said Robert Carbo, a member of Team Carbo making his fourth trip to Sinkland Farms.  "It's so beautiful out here in the mountains. The people are really friendly and we always get a great reaction from the crowds."

About 10,000 people will come through the festival during October. The Sinks say they want every single one of them to have just as much fun on the farm as they do.

"It's kind of our family tradition to create other families' traditions," Sink said, "and I really enjoy that."

The Pumpkin Festival kicks off Saturday, Sept. 28.  It will run from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. There is a $5 parking/entertainment fee. Activities cost extra.

Sinkland Farms is located at 3020 Riner Road, just east of I-81. For more information, you can visit

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