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Fall Farm Festival brings Valencia County community to NMSU science center

Date: 11/01/2015

Woman helping child paint on a pumpkin
Tristyn Bock-Orona, left, painted her own pumpkin with a little help from her mother, Allison Phillips, right, at the 10th annual Fall Farm Festival held at NMSU?s Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas on Oct. 17. Families from all over Valencia County, some bringing relatives from out of town, came out for the fall festive to enjoy wagon rides, pick pumpkins from the field they grew in, walk the corn trail, play games, win prizes and enjoy yummy treats on a real farm. (Photo courtesy Deborah Fox/Valencia County News-Bulletin)
Children standing and holding pumpkins
Local families picked their Halloween pumpkins out of the field at the 10th annual Fall Farm Festival held at NMSU?s Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas on Oct. 17. Pictured from left to right are Los Lunas residents Joleen Bock in pink, Elizabeth Bock, Bosque Farms residents Jaxxon Daniel with brothers Payton and Adrian. (Photo courtesy Deborah Fox/Valencia County News-Bulletin)

By Jane Moorman

LOS LUNAS ? Tree leaves turning brilliant colors are a sign that fall is here.

In Valencia County, another sign is the annual Fall Farm Festival at New Mexico State University?s Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas.

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences faculty and staff at the county Cooperative Extension Service office and the science center have hosted the County 4-H fundraising event for 10 years.

This year, nearly 900 people attended the Saturday event.

?This is a family event where many return each year to participate in the activities,? said Vera Gibson, Valencia County 4-H agent. ?For our 4-H members, it combines a community service project with fundraising.?

A wide variety of booths give the young and old alike plenty of activities to do during the day. The youth can pet a goat, horse or sheep in the petting pen, or get a design painted on their face. They can participate in games such as gunny-sack races and pie-eating contests.

Each summer, Tom Place, farm manager for the science center, plants a field of pumpkins and designs a corn maze.

?Each kid gets to go pick a pumpkin to take home,? said Gibson. ?It?s fun watching the kids running around the field selecting their perfect pumpkin.?

After carrying their pumpkin out of the field, they have the opportunity to paint a face on it at the pumpkin decorating booth.

The kids enjoy exploring the corn maze and playing hide and seek among the rows of corn.

Among the many booths are educational exhibits, including the Southwest Dairy Association?s mobile dairy classroom, where a live cow is milked as the kids learn how much milk it produces in a day. They also learn how much water one cow drinks in a day ? a bathtub full.

Along with the mobile dairy classroom, the New Mexico Beef Council and Chuckwagon CowBelles provide information on the importance of beef in our diets.

?This year the New Mexico Bee Keepers Association provided information as well as a demonstration beehive for kids to see,? Gibson said.

?This annual event is a great way to make people aware that NMSU is in their community,? said Laura Bittner, Valencia County Extension county director. ?Prior to hosting this event, many people were not aware that the research farm existed. Now they know. This is an excellent way for the Valencia County Extension office and 4-H program to give back to our community.?

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