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The pick of the pumpkin patch

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What's one of the best things about fall? Pumpkin picking! The Tidewater Review recently asked readers on its Facebook page to name the best pumpkin patches around. Here's the top picks, plus a few others.

Holly Fork Pumpkin Patch

4901 Holly Fork Road, Barhamsville

804-366-6349 or 757-566-0729

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.- 7 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays, except for Columbus Day.

Holly Fork provides SOL-based educational lessons, gourd/pumpkin painting parties, and birthday parties. And, don't forget about the Annual Harvest Hoedown on October 19 from 11 a.m – 4 p.m. The festival will include a moon bounce, hay rides, mechanical bull riding, a great selection of vendors, and yummy food, as well as an "Antique Fire Truck, Vintage Tractor Show" ( enter yours!),  Blue Grass band,  pumpkin painting area, game area, picnic area, and much more.

For more information, visit www. hollyforkproduceandmore.com

Pumpkinville

7691 Richmond Road, Toano

(7577) 869-9751

Hours: Sunday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

In addition to its pumpkin patch, the farm offers free hayrides, a cornfield maze and children's games. Shoppers also can buy additional fall decorations, such as wooden cutouts, arts and crafts, bundles of cornstalks and bales of hay.

For more information, visit http://www.pumpkinville.net

Lightning Ridge Farm

10321 New Kent Highway, New Kent

804-966-2472

Hours: Monday-Sunday, sunrise to sunset

Lightning Ridge Farm grows Mammoth Gold pumpkins, which are edible, unlike jack O' lantern pumpkins, and can be made into breads and pies. Pumpkin prices range from $1-7, the same prices as they were 40 years ago when the Smith family started the small family farm. The pumpkins are now being grown by the third generation. The farm also has cows, which are always a crowd pleaser.

College Run Farm

2051 Alliance Road, Surry

757-249-3970

Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Thursday-Saturday from 10 – 6 p.m., closed on Mondays.

After you pick a pumpkin at College Run Farms, get a scoop of pumpkin and vanilla ice cream and take a shot at the 4-acre corn maze. Remember to bring cash or a check for your purchases, the farm does not accept credit cards. The corn maze costs $3 a person and is free for children under 5.

Picking is best right now, the farm's website says. The patch may not last until Halloween.

Belmont Pumpkin Farms

Route 617, North River Road, Mathews

804-725-6612

Hours: Saturday & Sunday from 10 a.m. - -6 p.m. through the month of October.

This pumpkin farm has been open since Sept. 21, offering pumpkins, face painting, treasure hunts, mazes and farm animals to visit. Try the barbecue offerings and the farm's specialty pumpkin butter, pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. Kids can also enjoy scarecrow making and corn hole.

During the last two weekends in October, guests can take part in a sunset hayride and a "slightly spooky" ride. Little ones can enjoy hunting for a "magic pumpkin," roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories around a bonfire.

For more information, visit http://www.bellmontpumkinfarm.com

Green Hand Farm Park

5900 George Washington Memorial Parkway, Gloucester

804-761-6188

Hours: Fridays from 3 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

One of the largest fall fun attractions around, the Gloucester park boasts an 8-acre corn maze, a smaller 1-acre maze for young children, a "Jumbo Jumper" bounce pillow for kids and adults, water bottle blaster, duck races, 20-foot-wide rope spider web, corn cannon, straw castle, hayrides, and, of course, a pumpkin patch.

New this year is the Zombie Survival Course, where participants ride through the woods shooting at live and fixed targets with mounted paintball guns. The ride costs $10, and includes the paintballs.

On Friday and Saturday nights, go through the maze in the dark during "Flashlight Nights." Admission is $10 per person, children 3 years old and under are free. There is an additional fee for some of the attractions. Visitors are encouraged to bring cash.

For more information, visit http://www.greenhandfarmpark.com