Compact Tractor Comes in Clutch at Annual Pumpkin Patch Fundraiser

Published on January 12, 2023

The morning of September 16 was an idyllic fall Friday at the Historic Crab Orchard Museum in Tazewell, Virginia. Four acres of pumpkins sat ready to be picked. Skies were clear. A refreshed corn maze design was newly cleared. It was the first day of the organization’s annual Crab Orchard Corn Maze and Pisgah Pumpkin Patch fundraising event, and the staff was prepped and ready for the onslaught of visitors. The last thing this Instagram-ready scene needed was an eyesore.

The morning of September 16 was an idyllic fall Friday at the Historic Crab Orchard Museum in Tazewell, Virginia. Four acres of pumpkins sat ready to be picked. Skies were clear. A refreshed corn maze design was newly cleared.   

It was the first day of the organization’s annual Crab Orchard Corn Maze and Pisgah Pumpkin Patch fundraising event, and the staff was prepped and ready for the onslaught of visitors. 

“Our corn maze is easily our biggest event,” said Cynthia Farmer, executive director at Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park. “It’s become a tradition since we started it in 2015, and the revenue is critical to supporting museum operations.”  

The last thing this Instagram-ready scene needed was an eyesore.  

A living time capsule 

The Historic Crab Orchard Museum is an educational institution highlighting the area’s Appalachian cultural heritage. “We take great pride in preserving our history so that we can share the stories of who we are,” Cynthia said. “With the rising popularity of genealogy and ancestry services, people are more interested than ever in learning about their heritage.” 

Learning is at the center of every activity at the Crab Orchard Museum, and local students frequently take fields trips there for an immersive experience. “We have costumed demonstrators throughout our Pioneer Park — it’s like stepping back in time,” Cynthia said. The corn maze is also a teaching opportunity, with a new theme each year geared toward different topics.  

This year’s theme, Bee Amazed, highlighted pollination. And Tazewell was certainly buzzing with anticipation for the corn maze’s opening weekend.  

“The wagon rides have become so popular that we’ve added a second trailer. Now, we hook up both wagons to whatever tractor our sponsor provides us with,” Cynthia said. The orchard had worked with a local equipment dealer for a few years to source a tractor and planned on continuing that relationship again this year.  

That is, until the tractor showed up on site.  

No more tired tractors 

Cynthia took one look at the machine and knew immediately it wouldn’t work. “It was older than my first-born — and I’m 65 years old! We needed something dependable. Something reliable. And this wouldn’t cut it.”  

The museum staff sprung into action to try and find a last-minute replacement. They made an introductory call that morning to Robert Vencill at Outdoor Country, an outdoor power equipment dealer. He simply said, “I’ll have something to you in a couple of hours.” No further questions needed. 

True to his word, Robert arrived at the corn maze with a Bobcat CT4045 compact tractor within an hour. The team hooked it up to the back-to-back trailers, and the wagon rides were off without another hitch.  

“The Bobcat tractor absolutely saved the day,” said Cynthia. “Plus, it was smooth, sleek and powerful. While driving a one-mile perimeter of a pumpkin patch isn’t the most grueling work a tractor can do, this machine made it really simple.” 

A guest at the museum thought the same thing. Two weeks into the corn maze event, a visitor was so impressed by the CT4045 that he called Outdoor Country and bought it. Outdoor Country wouldn’t let that impact the wagon rides, of course, so they replaced the CT4045 with a Bobcat CT2040 compact tractor for the remainder of the event. “Even though the second tractor was smaller, it did the job just as good,” Cynthia said.  

Not only was Outdoor Country generous enough to support us like that without meeting us first, but they were so responsive to our need. That’s just being a good neighbor.

Cynthia Farmer

Executive Director / Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park

11,514 pumpkin patrons 

Having hosted 2,653 school tours (plus 1,061 parents) and 7,800 weekend patrons in seven weeks, the ninth annual Crab Orchard Corn Maze and Pisgah Pumpkin Patch event concluded on October 30. It was the organization’s second most successful event in its history, only beaten out by the fall of 2020 when the general public’s appetite for safe outdoor activities was at an all-time high.  

“We had a really successful season. We’re so grateful to all our friends, neighbors and sponsors for pitching in — especially Outdoor Country” said Cynthia. “I mean, not only were they generous enough to support us like that without meeting with us first, but they were so responsive to our need. That’s just being a good neighbor.” 

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