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The quest for the perfect pumpkin

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Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 9:52 am | Updated: 9:07 am, Wed Nov 2, 2011.

The Dodasa Ranch Pumpkin Patch in Burson is officially open after closing its autumn festivities last year due to a weak economy.

When owners Don and Dawn Parker opened Dodasa Ranch to the public in 2008, there wasn't much else like it in the Valley Springs area. The ranch is complete with a petting zoo, a giant slide and the Pumpkin Blaster, a machine made by District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli that blasts out pumpkins with the pull of a lever.

Asked why they closed for the 2010 season, Don Parker replied, "It was the tough economy. So many people were disappointed we couldn't do it again (last year)."

"We're just a family deal so we try to do most of the work ourselves," said Dawn, adding that there are about 15 family members and volunteers who help with the fall activities.

Dodasa Ranch saw its first 2011 customers last weekend during its "soft opening." Because of the rain and a wedding held at the ranch on Saturday, all the features were not available but should be ready for this weekend.

Activities will include those listed above, as well as a cow train ride for the little ones, a hay bale maze, panning for gems, a tractor tire climbing pyramid, catch and release fishing and more. The ranch is open Tuesdays through Thursdays for field trips only by appointment and open on the weekends to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"It's a lot of fun," said Micheline Kipf, Valley Springs, who brought her family out for the first time to Dodasa. "It's nice that it's so close to home."

Admission to Dodasa Ranch Pumpkin Patch is free, including free tractor rides to the pumpkin patch, where people can pick the perfect pumpkin straight off the vine. A $10 wristband gets access to almost all of the activities, or families can purchase tickets for $1 each.

Dodasa Ranch is at 5059 Carol Lane, Burson. For more information visit or call 772-2700.

Contact Kate Gonzales at


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