Inside JCPRD: There’s still time to participate in fall and Halloween programs

A pumpkin patch for ages 12 and under is part of the annual Mildale Farm Fall Fest on Oct. 30.

By David Markham

If you’ve gotten all the way to the last week of October without participating in any Halloween or fall-related programs, you’re not out of luck yet! Or maybe you’re just not willing to let this time of the year go by without partaking in more fun.

Either way, JCPRD still has a half-dozen programs that can contribute to your autumnal enjoyment!

Programs you can still catch are: a new Creepy Crawly Halloween Party, and the new JCPRD’s Trail of Treats, both on Friday, Oct. 29. There’s also a Spooky Open Studio art program, The TimberRidge Haunted Campground overnight camping program, the related TimberRidge Fall Haunt, and the annual Mildale Farm Fall Fest as well as the Lanesfield School Fall Open House, all on Saturday, Oct. 30. Many of these programs require advance registration.

The Creepy Crawly Halloween Party for ages 2 to 5 with an adult will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, at the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse. Participants will enjoy a spooky trip to the clubhouse in costume where they can take part in a morning of Halloween activities, and fun, including a snack and take-home craft. The cost is $7 per person for Johnson County residents or $8 per person for nonresidents.

JPCRD’s Trail of Treats is a new special event for ages 14 and under, which is free with a canned food donation, and will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 on the Sertoma Trail just south of the Theatre in the Park’s outdoor facility in Shawnee Mission Park. Participants are in for a “boo-tiful” night featuring Halloween-themed activities, thrills, chills, and treats! Come dressed in your Halloween best and be sure to enter into our social media costume contest! The contest winner will receive a spook-tacular prize! This event is free to the community with a donation of a canned food item (per person) for those in need in Johnson County, but because attendance is limited, preregistration is still required.

Candy and kids in costume are part of most of JCPRD’s Halloween programs.

Come get spooky with Halloween themed arts and crafts at the Spooky Open Studio from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30 at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center. No formal instruction will happen during this program for all ages 3 and older, but a teaching artist will be available to help if needed. Art materials are limited and themed to Halloween. Ceramics building and throwing will not be available during this program. The cost is $5 per person. Because this program has a maximum number of participants, preregistration is encouraged to guarantee a spot.

The new TimberRidge Haunted Campground for ages 4 and older is an opportunity for a night of family camping at TimberRidge Adventure Center on Saturday, Oct. 30. Participants can check in between 2 and 2:30 p.m. Included with camping is Halloween Heavens, a 45-minute celestial experience which will be presented 8 p.m. Park Naturalist Amber Lamble, who will discuss visible constellations in the October sky. Campers need to bring their own equipment and food. No staff will be onsite overnight. Families need to be packed up and offsite by 9 a.m. Alcohol of any kind is prohibited during this event. Cost for a family of up to two adults and three children is $30 for Johnson County residents or $33 for nonresidents. This program may be cancelled and refunded in the case of inclement weather.

A companion event to the campout is called the TimberRidge Fall Haunt. This program is for all ages and will also take place at the TimberRidge Adventure Center from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30. Participants are invited to come in costume to fish from the dock, create a Halloween themed craft, go boating, try their hand at an apple ring toss, or embark on a hike in the TimberRidge Haunted Forest! These scares will be fun for the whole family. The evening will end with hotdogs and s’mores. The cost is $14 per person for Johnson County residents or $15 per person for nonresidents.

The Mildale Farm Fall Fest is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, and will give interested parties access to the approximately 90-acre rental property in southwest Johnson County which is actually part of Big Bull Creek Park, and is usually accessible only by reservation and for two public special events each year, including the Fall Fest.

A number of fall-related activities are being planned for the event, most of which are free to the public. A pumpkin patch will be situated in front of the main barn, and children 12 and under can pick out a pumpkin. A tractor-drawn hayride will take visitors to a fire circle in the south-central portion of the Mildale site, where they can roast marshmallows and enjoy storytelling and outdoor education presentations. Other activities include a petting zoo, and a putting green with kid-sized clubs is available. Chris Cake’s will be serving pancakes and sausage for $5 a plate beginning at 9 am and ending at noon. There is also a small fee to feeding animals at the petting zoo, and only cash is accepted. All activities are first-come, first-served while supplies last.

Catch-and-release fishing in any or all of seven ponds within the Mildale Farm area is allowed during Fall Fest. While district fishing permits have been waived for this event, anglers 16 and older need to have a Kansas state fishing license. Cops and Bobbers, a not-for-profit organization staffed by volunteers from law enforcement and emergency services, will be on hand to provide fishing opportunities for little ones.

For more information about the Mildale Farm Fall Fest, contact Sarah Vogelsberg at (913) 826-2957.

The Lanesfield School Fall Open House event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., also on Saturday, Oct. 30 in a one-room limestone schoolhouse located about three miles from Mildale Farm. Participants of all ages can experience autumn at this historic structure built in 1869 and restored to its appearance of 1904. Visitors will meet a costumed teacher and work on penmanship or spelling. Visitors can dance to the Missouri Town Band, play with old-fashioned toys and games, see a quilting demonstration, explore trade items from the Santa Fe Trail, learn about animals on the trail, and make memories at the Santa Fe Trail Selfie Station. The event will also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail, which passes nearby. Refreshments will be available. Stop by the visitor center to learn about Lanesfield and life for teachers and children in Johnson County.