Merced County Times Newspaper
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Fall excitement lives on despite pandemic


For everyone who loves the beautiful Fall Season and Halloween times, Vista Ranch at 7326 Highway 140 in Merced has opened its pumpkin patch for the 2020 season.

To give the general public more things to do during the pandemic, the management also decided to extend Vista Nights this year to November or as long as the weather permits.

Vista Ranch sits on 20 acres of George Fancher’s Bear Creek Ranch. With its oak trees, spacious green lawns, and beautiful vineyard, it is popular as a wedding and entertainment venue.

“We have the pumpkin patch open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and we’re mainly selling heirloom pumpkins,” said Aide Marchini, manager of Vista Ranch. “We’re pleased to be able to offer families and friends the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of the Fall 2020 season in a fun and safe environment where social distancing can be maintained and opportunities for sanitizing are plentiful.

“People can walk around our grounds. We have a variety of heirloom pumpkins, Indian corn, gourds, squash and wheat stalks. We don’t have the corn maze and the game area this year due to COVID.

“Our gift shop and tasting room are open. We’re doing wine tastings outdoors every day between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“On Thursdays and Fridays, we have Vista Nights from 6 to 9 p.m.  We intend to run Vista Nights outdoors as long as weather permits, which may be the end of October and into November.

“Vista Night offers outdoor dining featuring wood fire pizza, tri tip sandwiches and green salad, and fresh fruit. The pizza is baked in an oven that’s really hot from wood logs. You get to taste the flavors of the wood, and you get a softer dough and it tastes really good.

“You can also purchase alcoholic beverages and appetizer items such as grilled peppers, corn salsa, and zucchini bread.  We incorporate the produce coming out of our garden into the menu.

“On Saturdays and Sundays, we serve pizzas from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  That will go to Nov. 1.

“In the pandemic, we’re putting things for people to do online. We started October Art Kits on our website, You press a tab called Store. Art Kits are similar to Paint by Numbers. There is a kit with instructions, and the children can enjoy painting at home on a canvas.”

For those interested, reservations are required for Vista Nights and can be made online.

For further information, community members can call Vista Ranch at (209) 722-8200.

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