PeaceTree Farms, pumpkins

Pumpkins are scattered on display at PeaceTree Farms in Eolia, Missouri.

Some of your fall favorites may be missing this year, as local organizations make tough decisions to keep the public safe. The Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival and Roots N Blues music festival are among some of the popular fall festivities canceled this year due to COVID-19, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the new season. With safety regulations in place, many fun venues remain open to the public. Whether you're eager for classic autumn scenery, or you just want to get out of the house, we've got some ideas to get you started.

Here are some mid-Missouri locations full of activities to get in the fall spirit. 

Huffstutter Orchards 

Looking for a quick road trip to escape Boone County for a few hours? Head west about 25 miles to Huffstutter Orchards. This small, independent orchard is located in New Franklin, Missouri, and it's the perfect spot for picking apples and peaches. 

"We’ve been very busy," says Pam Huffstutter, who owns the orchard with her husband. "I think it’s because people feel good about being outdoors, and people feel safe going out to the country."

Be sure to check their website for recipes on how to incorporate your fresh picks into apple pancakes, Crock-Pot applebutter, apple upside-down delight and more. Make sure to plan ahead, because the location only accepts cash and checks.

Location: 2621 State Route P, New Franklin, MO 65274

Hours: Thursday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. 

Contact: Call 864-1014 or visit missouriapples.com 

Shryocks Callaway Farms Corn Maze

Located right off of I-70, Shryocks Callaway Farms is the big red barn you can't miss. The Shryock family has been farming in northern Callaway County since 1889 and opened its farm to visitors in 2002. Go and enjoy its 16-acre corn maze, nightly campfires, pumpkin patch and more. 

Location: 2927 County Rd. 253, Columbia, MO 65202

Hours: Open Sept. 18 through Nov. 1, Friday-Saturday noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

Contact: Call 573-592-0191 or visit callawayfarms.com

PeaceTree Farms 

PeaceTree Farms is situated just north of St. Louis and is a perfect choice for a short getaway. The property is filled with activities ranging from daytime hayrides to pumpkin picking. The family-owned farm aims to bring people together and keep them coming back for more each year. Despite the difficulties presented by the pandemic, the farm remains open.

Peace Tree Farms, pumpkins 2

PeaceTree Farms is one of many places that residents of Columbia can enjoy fall activities safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We debated whether or not to open our gates this fall, but we feel confident that our guests can stay healthy and safe in our outdoor environment with the precautions that we are taking," says Chance Zacheis, digital director for PeaceTree Farms. "It’s our favorite thing to see families we recognize from previous years coming back to grow more memories that will be special to them for a lifetime."

The farm also offers a Wicked Woodlands Haunted Hayride at night in all of October for those looking to be spooked. Be sure to grab your tickets online, because the number of riders per wagon is reduced this year for safety reasons. 

Location: 20100 Pike 267, Eolia, MO 63344

Hours: Open Oct. 2-31. Daytime hayrides and pumpkin picking: Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Haunted attraction: Friday-Saturday 7 p.m. to midnight

Contact: Call 573-470-6777 or visit peacetreefarms.com

Strawberry Hills Farm

If you’re looking to spruce up your porch or yard at home, head over to Strawberry Hills Farm for all your plant needs. Open for the fall season, the farm has a variety of mums at $10 per 1 gallon pot, and a wide selection of pumpkins, gourds, pansies and other fall annuals. 

Location: 3770 E. Hwy 163, Columbia, MO 65201

Hours: Sept. 10-Oct 31, Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

Contact: Call 573-449-1631 or visit strawberryhillfarms.net

The Dead Factory Haunted House

While safety is the top priority, scaring haunted house-goers is a close second. The Dead Factory Haunted House is opening its doors in October with local health guidelines in place to provide the public with a safe (and scary) visit to its 8,000-square-foot walk-through haunted attraction. For an extra $5, you can even purchase a "Monster Shield" to make the experience a little less terrifying. 

Location: 2100 E. Liberty St., Mexico, MO 65201

Hours: Open Oct. 2-31, Friday-Saturday 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Contact: Call 573-567-0631 or visit deadfactory.com

All festivity-goers should be sure to check each location's COVID-19 regulations and be sure to follow CDC guidelines for the safest experience possible.

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