Deanna Rose Farmstead has wrapped up a banner year.
Attendance for the 2014 season was 460,105, surpassing the 2013 season by 48,858.
“We are positioned to have our second-highest attendance record since we opened the farmstead,” said Laura Sirridge, supervisor of public programs for recreation services for the city of Overland Park.
“People are motivated by the weather, and we had beautiful weather this past season,” she said.
The farmstead is open seven months of the year, April 1 through Oct. 31.
The 12-acre farmstead opened in 1978; it was renamed in 1985 to honor Deanna Rose, the first Overland Park police officer killed in the line of duty.
The Friends of the Farmstead, part of the Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park, is a nonprofit group that helps raise funds for future projects and programs at the farmstead. The group helps to run 11 fund-raising events each year at the venue.
The friends group puts on two major fundraisers for the farmstead. The 16th annual Pumpkin Hollow took place from Sept. 26 through Halloween, drawing more than 17,000 people. The Pumpkin Hollow featured a horse-drawn wagon ride taking participants to a “patch” with each person taking home a pumpkin. The event included a Pumpkin Hollow Express — a barrel train pulled by a real farm tractor, a corn maze, a hay pyramid and slide.
The second event, Night of the Living Farm, was held over two consecutive weekends in October. Now in its 18th year, the Night of the Living Farm featured old-fashioned lanterns and carved pumpkins marking a path for costumed trick-or-treaters to follow through pathways of graves and ghouls. More than 7,300 people went to the evening event that included a haunted barn; a flashlight scavenger hunt; haunted horse-drawn hayride; tractor-pulled wagon ride (for little trick-or-treaters); marshmallow roast and Halloween dancing stage. Halloween-themed food and treats were also sold. Funds from the event are used for capital improvements at the farmstead.
“This past year Friends of the Farmstead completed Main Street with the building of John’s Blacksmith Shop, Ray’s Barbershop and Pat’s Photography Parlor,” Sirridge said.
The group offered a new fundraising event this year, Moon Shine on the Farm that took place Sept. 6.
“It was our first adults-only after-hours fundraiser,” Sirridge said. “Guests enjoyed a live band, dancing, dinner, lawn games, hay rides and much more.”
Sirridge said although the farmstead officially closed for the season on Nov. 1, there is one special event coming up. The Holiday Lights on Farmstead Lane starts the evening of Thanksgiving and ends Jan. 3. The public is invited to view the lights, which are outside of the farmstead’s gates.
While the farmstead is closed, work continues, including cleanup and maintenance activities as well as taking care of some of the farm animals, including some baby goats due in January. The farmstead will reopen for next season on April 1.