A Fabulous Fall

A Fabulous Fall

by Danny Summers

Following the hot days of summer, we wake up one morning, walk outside, and instantly feel the first hint of fall in the air... It's a magical feeling. We all know Fall is coming. We just don't know when and we wait in great anticipation and longing for the first day you need your favorite sweater. What a great day!

As Garden Centers you have been planning and preparing for those Fall Days for several months as you make way for the transition to Fall color annuals, all those great pumpkins, gourds, and more.

Some of our Centers have Fall-themed events, but few have the level of activity we are about to explore. In fact, only one other in The Group has a similar level of Fall events.

The first stop on The Fall Event 2023 Tour Day will be at Burger Farm & Garden Center. Burger Farm is a year-round Garden Center but what happens during 5 weeks in the fall is a total transformation. Beginning just two days following The Fall Event 2023 Tour Day, Burger Farm will be transformed into a Fall Festival destination. I asked Ken Burger to give us a brief overview of this 5-week event. He said,

"This year will be our 50th year of having a fall festival! Over the course of five weekends in October, we’ll see over 22,000 people with average daily attendance ranging from the first and last weekends of about 1,200 to 3,000 per day during the middle three weekends. Many of these families come from a much wider area than we see as Garden Center customers."

"Our festival is family oriented with an average age group of 3 to 12 years old with parents and grandparents. Admission is $15 per person; seniors $12 and under two – free. During the month of October, we’ll have approximately 2,000 school children ($8 per person) or groups visit us during the weekdays. We also offer afternoon weekday hayrides to the pumpkin patch for $5 per person.

During the fall months of September and October in 2022; the sum of sales of fall produce, decorations, merchandise and the festival accounts for approximately $800k in gross revenue. We have 10 full time staff year-round and hire 30 seasonal employees for a total of 40 during the five weekends."

It may be easier to list what Burger Farm's Fall Festival doesn't have... but let's explore the full list together:

Animal Viewing, Bunny Hold, Baby Chick Pet/Hold, Duck Pond, Pony Rides, Straw Maze, Barnyard Games, Vine Climbing (rock wall), Jumping Pillow, Obstacle Course, Zip Lines, Peddle Cars Track, Paint Ball, Cow Train, Hayride, Amusement Rides and Food Trucks! And of course all the typical Fall Color, Pumpkins, Squash, Gourds and more.

Our Tour Day is just 2 days prior to the opening of Burger Farm's 2023 Fall Festival so we will get to see all this set up and ready for 20,000+ people to come enjoy A Fabulous Fall at Burger Farm & Garden Center! You can see a larger PDF view of the map above (what we will see when we are there) HERE.

While most Garden Centers do not have the land or space to create such an event as Burger Farm does, every Garden Center will see new ideas they can use to create Fabulous Fall activities in future seasons back home! You can see several videos and more details about Burger Farm on our Tour Day page HERE.

By the way, the other Center in The Group that has a huge Fall Festival is Waldoch Farm in Lino Lakes, MN. Waldoch has some amazing numbers too. Last Friday, Doug Joyer shared some of their recent years' data. Doug said, "Our Fall Adventure Farm runs around 6 weeks. This year we are open September 23rd to October 30th. We use 4 acres for parking for about 3 weekends. We have 7 acres set aside for future growth. I think we park about 115 cars per acre. So, 400 to 450 total cars parked at one time on the busiest days.

In 2019, we had about 5,000 people on the busiest day (this was when Danny called me and asked about our sales and those entrance fees [$36,978] were going into our Labor Income category in the WDR-Week 40).

We stopped giving things away and raised our prices, so 2022 peak paid attendance day was 1,599 - each paying 17.99 [$28,766] admission plus taxes and fees. Down from 2021, but that was 1 of 3 days above 1,500 paid people.

In 2021 we had a peak paid attendance day 1,702 paying 17.99 [$30,619] admission plus taxes and fees. In 2019 we had a peak paid over 3,000 but only at $12 [$36,000] admission plus taxes, and we figured 2,000 people did the free activities. Fewer people but more revenue!"

Check out the long list of activities Waldoch offers HERE.

So no matter the size of Fall activities your Center can offer, creating excitement to enhance and satisfy the anticipation and enjoyment of the Fall Season can make it...  A Fabulous Fall!

I can't wait for you to see Burger Farm & Garden Center, our first stop on The Fall Event 2023 Tour Day. And just maybe one day we can see Waldoch Farm too!

See you in Cincy!


Sharing is at the heart of The Group and your ideas are very important. If you have any trouble logging into The Group WebSystem, please let me know. Are you and your staff all subscribed to our eLists such as GroupEs, Retail-Grower, Retail-Landscape, Owners-Only, and a number of others? Need help subscribing? Let me know so I can show you how you can sign up.

Thanks for sharing!

Danny Summers
[email protected]
Tel: 678-909-7770
Cell: 678-761-7145

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as Tim Quebedeaux, Sid Raisch, John Kennedy, Jean Seawright, and of course Danny Summers are included in your retainer!

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