Listen: Pumpkinland farm

Mainstreet Radio-Brainerd’s John Biewen presents the October Pumpkinland events at Kopischke farm, in Vernon Center. Biewen interviews farm owner Gordie and Dorothy Kopischke.


1987 Minnesota AP Award, first place in Creative Use of Audio category


text | pdf |

[BELL RINGING] SPEAKER 1: It's 4:00 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon, and a couple hundred people, maybe half of them under eight years old, sit on rows of hay bales in what used to be a large aluminum sheep shed on the Gordy and Dorothy Kopischke farm.

SPEAKER 2: Miss Piggy Miss Piggy.

SPEAKER 1: It's time for the day's third performance of a skit starring two of the Kopischke kids and two neighborhood youngsters dressed up in Muppets costumes.


SPEAKER 3: Oh, Kermie, my love, I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. Mush. Mush.

SPEAKER 1: The skit lasts no more than five minutes, which is about the limit of the young audience's attention span. Besides, there's plenty more for the kids to do here at Pumpkinland. At the other end of the long shed are a series of scenes made of pumpkins, gourds, and squash dressed up and painted to look like fairytale and cartoon characters-- the Smurfs, Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

SPEAKER 4: Daddy bear and Mama bear and Baby bear. And there's a broken chair. And those are pumpkins they painted brown. Isn't that clever? Isn't that cute?

SPEAKER 1: Outside the big shed, kids and their parents can play carnival-style games or crawl through a cavernous tunnel under hay bales or take a hay ride behind an ancient John Deere tractor.


SPEAKER 5: Originally, our daughter started it just by Gordy having a half an acre that he didn't know what to do with, and he decided to plant some squash and have her make a little extra money.

SPEAKER 6: And that was about, I don't know, 16, 18 years ago, and they've kind of overdone it now I think.

SPEAKER 1: Dorothy and Gordi Kopischke farm, 400 acres of corn, soybeans, and peas, and 40 acres of pumpkins and other produce. They guess they'll sell about 30,000 pumpkins this year wholesale and retail. They also sell fruits and vegetables, candy, and craft and gift items in Kopischke's market, which is right next to Pumpkin Land here on their farm.

Pumpkin Land, with its displays and games for kids, is for fun, they say, and to draw customers to the market. Dorothy says the family started running Pumpkin Land on a large scale five years ago when they were caught in the farm credit pinch.

SPEAKER 5: We bought some land at $2,000, and now it's worth a thousand. And we bought machinery, and it isn't worth much. And the interest rate was so high, and there was a few years we couldn't pay anything but our-- couldn't hardly pay our interest. And so like other farmers, we just got in trouble, and this has just helped us survive.

SPEAKER 1: Pumpkinland keeps the Kopischkes busy during its five-week season from late September until Halloween. On a good weekend, as many as 2,000 people come from miles around to play and to spend a few dollars.

Lynn Luepke brought his family over from Fairmont.

SPEAKER 7: Valley Fair it's not, but it's kind of more of a down-home sort of thing, and all the kids seem to be having a good time-- a lot of fun for the buck, I guess you might say.

SPEAKER 1: Kopischke's Market and Pumpkinland appears to be a rural entrepreneurial success story. What's the secret? Maybe the Muppets have the answer.

ALL: (SINGING) We learned together, work and play. Help each other day by day. When Halloween comes though such fun can be had by everyone.


SPEAKER 1: In Vernon Center, I'm John [INAUDIBLE]


Materials created/edited/published by Archive team as an assigned project during remote work period and in office during fiscal 2021-2022 period.

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>