LOUISBURG, KS (KCTV) — It’s finally starting to feel like fall, and families are taking in fall traditions like pumpkin patches with a few changes.
Olathe’s Jayden Henderson doesn’t hesitate for a second when asked about his favorite part of his annual visit to Louisburg Cider Mill.
“The donuts for sure,” the 13-year-old shouted from beneath his face covering. “The donuts are the best - and the cider.”
You’ll hardly see a single person inside the Country Store who isn’t walking out with both.
This year, the line starts outside, because they’re limiting the number of people inside to 45. They have someone at the door keeping count. When it’s busy, there’s no going in until someone comes out.
Jayden’s grandparents weren’t put out one bit.
“We’ve been coming here every year since these kids were babies,” said Linda Welkner.
“We came here back in the 80s with our children,” her husband Vern chimed in, gesturing to Jayden’s mom. “Then she grew up and now we take the grandchildren too.”
Alexis Hebert, Louisburg Cider Mill’s co-owner, pointed to several shipping containers that have been converted to outdoor vending areas, a new addition this year for busy weekends.
“Just so people who don’t want to go into the Country Store or maybe are a little bit uncomfortable with that can be outside and get their cider and donuts outside. It also breaks up the crowds,” she explained.
A lengthy walk behind the store, in a clearing between the pumpkin patch and the corn maze, Shawnee’s Adeline Wilkinson was happy to share her favorite part of the day.
“We went to the pumpkin patch and picked really good pumpkins,” said the 6-year-old.
She and her 3-year-old sister, Emilia, began rolling their pumpkins in an impromptu race.
She showed off her selection, saying, “I like that it’s very orange. And it has no spots on it.”
“They’re not doing school this semester so it’s nice to get them out,” said her dad, Kyle Wilkinson
There’s plenty of social distancing in the pumpkin patch.
“Luckily we have 80 acres to work with, so that helps us a lot,” said Hebert.
The wagon rides are a gray zone - outdoors in the fresh air but if the route picks up multiple families, guests are asked to mask up. The family who hopped on with KCTV5’s news crew promptly raised theirs without being asked.
“People are complying so well. No one complains or argues with it at all,”’said Hebert.
“It’s all part of what we expect today,” said Vern Walker. “We’re used to it now. It’s been going on since March so we just assume protocols like this will be in place.”
“I think it’s just nice to have some normalcy in your life,” added Hebert. “We feel so fortunate that we’re able to still do this.”
She said this season has provided useful learning experience because she’s heard feedback from some customers that they like having the store less crowded inside than in past years. That, she said, could inform how they handle things after the COVID-era heath concerns subside.