The beer bottles in the corn fields and the coolers of alcohol were the final straw for Walters’ Pumpkin Patch.
Prior to this year, the popular pumpkin patch and corn maze northeast of Wichita was one of few places of the sort that allowed patrons to bring in outside food and drink.
This year, the pumpkin patch changed its policy – now, no outside food or drink is allowed at Walters’.
“Not that I’m opposed to drinking,” said Becky Walters, who owns the pumpkin patch with her husband, Carroll. “We just felt like this is a family-oriented facility, and we didn’t want that.”
Walters said a couple of “really brazen” drunken incidents last year, as well as misuse of the pumpkin patch’s tables, prompted the change in policy. Groups would occasionally occupy space for multiple hours, preventing others from accessing the tables, she said.
“It was kind of a no-holds-barred thing, and when people started saving six or seven tables, setting up their own Crock Pots and asking for extension cords, we realized we couldn’t do that anymore,” she said.
Sealed water bottles and baby bottles will still be allowed at the pumpkin patch, but now guests bringing disposable cups will be asked to discard them. School groups on field trips are still allowed to bring sack lunches.
“We were one of the last holdouts – this is kind of a national policy,” Walters said. “We’re just happening to finally say, ‘OK, we’re going to do like everybody else.’”
If you’re just itching to drink in the corn maze, however, the patch has a special event planned for just that after the season technically ends.
It’s called “Find the Wine,” with Grace Hill Winery.
On Nov. 4 from noon to 4 p.m., the winery will set up tasting tables throughout the corn maze – it’s up to guests to find the wine.
Walters said similar events are gaining popularity in other states, and the corn maze plans on doing another event next year, if this year’s “Find the Wine” goes well.
“Next year it’s ‘Keg in the Corn,’” Walters said. “We’re going to do it with a brewery.”
Until then, though, leave the coolers at home.
Walters’ Pumpkin Patch
Where: 10001 NW U.S. 77, Burns
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily and 1-7 p.m. Sundays. Flashlight corn maze open 7-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
What: 30 acres of pumpkins, two giant jumping pillows and a corn maze
Admission: $10 weekdays, $13 weekends. Discounted admission of $7 from 3-7 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Flashlight corn maze admission is $8.