It’s Fall, Y’All! Find NWA’s best pumpkins, mazes, more

It’s Fall, Y’All! Find NWA’s best pumpkins, mazes, more
LARA JO HIGHTOWER/Special to the Free Weekly

On June 2 and 3, a huge field on the outskirts of Prairie Grove will hold the largest selection of open-air flea market booths in the Northwest Arkansas area. From polished antiques to funky vintage treasures to rusty farm finds, shoppers should be rewarded with just about anything they’re looking for at the Junk Ranch, which boasts 150 vendors and more than 200 booths.

We asked a few vendors what they’re bringing to the event, how they got involved in junking, and what their best find ever was.

Don Wilkinson

Don Wilkinson found his way to junking the way a lot of vendors do: he kept finding great stuff while shopping for his own collection of vintage Speas Vinegar bottles. So when he retired in his mid-50s after 35 years with the Arkansas Highway Department, he threw his hat into the flea market ring and got a booth at one of the largest flea markets in the country in Canton, Texas. After 10 years of selling at Canton, he moved up to an even bigger venue — Round Top, Texas, the Holy Grail of flea markets.

“It was a lot of work on my part,” he says. “We would haul seven or eight trailer loads down between shows, store them, and then we’d go down and set up and stay two weeks, selling. We sold to people from everywhere — California and everywhere. They got to buying from me, and they actually got to buying too much. It became too much of a job, and age took over.”

Wilkinson is 85 now, and he was thrilled when the Junk Ranch opened up so near his home in Mountainburg. Though the main product he sells are chicken laying houses — he estimates he’s sold around 30,000 over the course of his junking career — the booth he runs with his son is an eclectic mix of auction, estate and farm sale finds.

Wilkinson’s best find ever was deceptively simple: a box full of old bottle caps.

“I told my wife, ‘I found the Holy Grail,’” he remembers. “They were unused, cork-lined Dr Pepper bottle caps from 1907. The first bottle caps ever used on a Dr Pepper bottle.”

When he put them on eBay, he says, “people went crazy.”

Stacey Murphy

The Weathered Pearl

Stacey Murphy’s relationship with the Junk Ranch started off as a shopper.

“I loved the eclectic mix of old, used, collectible items and the vendor inspired pieces! I thought to myself, ‘I could do this,’” she recalls. “I applied the next year, and junk has been my livelihood ever since.”

Murphy advises yard sale shoppers to look for the signs with a torn piece of cardboard with the word “sale” scribbled across it as a marker.

“Often these sales are not advertised on social media, so it increases your chances of finding a hidden treasure,” she says.

She also hits the widely advertised sales, like the Oklahoma 100-mile Yard Sale. That’s where she found her favorite find: a 13-foot late 1800s banquet table discovered in a barn in Cleveland, Okla.

“I have done several shows all over Oklahoma and Arkansas, and I would say what sets the Junk Ranch apart from the others is the venue itself, the friendly vendors, the amazing shoppers, but most of all how well [Junk Ranch founders] Amy [Daniels] and Julie [Speed] have it organized,” Murphy says.

Tracy Davis

Rusty Heart Relics

“I have always loved old things as long as I can remember,” says Tracy Davis of Rusty Heart Relics. “My mama had an eye for the ornate and passed it along to me. We spent many a weekend traveling the roads for that elusive treasure.”

For her booth, she stocks a wide variety of items.

“I love vintage and antique garden items, primitive and antique furniture, and holiday decor,” she says. “I loved MCM before it was cool.”

Her favorite find is an antique child’s bedroom suite she found at the famed Texas flea market Round Top.

“It is a beautiful faded robin’s egg blue with a painted design, and it’s to die for,” she says.

Davis has had a love affair with the Junk Ranch since the first year.

“From the live music and food trucks to the mountains of treasures and lovely vendors, I knew this was the show that I wanted to be a part of,” she says. “Amy and Julie are the best and treat us like family.”



Junk Ranch

WHEN — 9 a.m.-3 pm. June 2; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 3; tickets go on sale at 8 a.m.

WHERE — 11195 Centerpoint Church Road in Prairie Grove

COST — $10


“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,” says Anne Shirley, happily, in the beloved children’s classic “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery. To be sure, there’s a lot to love about October: enjoying the cooler temperatures, welcoming autumn, celebrating Halloween — and if you’re the kind of person who shares Anne’s enthusiasm for the month, you’re sure to find a corn maze, hay ride or pumpkin patch in Northwest Arkansas that will help you celebrate.

Throughout the area, enjoy all these things to do in celebration of the 10th month of the year:

Pick A Pumpkin

Spend an October afternoon trying to make your way through Farmland Adventures’ 9-acre corn maze. (File Photo)

Visit one of these locations to pluck the perfect pumpkin for your front porch.

McGarrah Farms

14816 Miser Road, Pea Ridge


Closed Tuesdays. Open weekdays 1-6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sundays, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

Reagan Family Farm

241 E. 15th St., Fayetteville


Visit this location for pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, gourds, mums, corn stalk bundles, wheat straw bales and stems of cotton. Hours/days of operation vary; check for more information.

Vanzant Fruit Farms

3705 Arkansas 264, Lowell


8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Fred and Kahylene Vanzant started Vanzant Fruit Farms in 1949, and their Lowell farm stand is still a popular place to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables — including pumpkins in the month of October.

Sequoyah United Methodist Church Youth Pumpkin Patch

1910 Old Wire Road, Fayetteville


10 a.m.-7 p.m. every day through Oct. 31

Sequoyah United Methodist Church in Fayetteville turns its front lawn into a giant pumpkin patch every October, trucking in the pumpkins and gourds from a Navajo Indian reservation in northwest New Mexico. Proceeds go to support youth ministry and missions.

Ranalli Farms Pumpkin Patch

2190 W. Henri De Tonti Blvd., Springdale


Monday-Saturday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 12-5 p.m.

Three generations of the Ranalli family have been growing, harvesting and selling strawberries, blueberries, peaches, corn, melons, grapes, apples and, from mid-September until December, pumpkins.

Fall Fun

Farmland Adventures’ offerings include pony rides, a corn maze and a petting zoo. (File Photo/Andy Shupe)

Enjoy the best of outdoor fall fun with one of these organizations.

Farmland Adventures

5355 Parsons Road, Springdale


The Parsons family has been working the land where Farmland Adventures is located since 1910. Today, the farm features a 9-acre corn maze with the theme “Secret Agent,” wagon rides, a pumpkin patch, pony rides, farm animals, pig races and a kids’ play area.

Blue Ribbon Farms’ Ozark Fall Fest

6069 Arkansas 112, Springdale


Fridays, 3-9 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

A plethora of activities and events are offered during this nearly monthlong fall festival. Rides, races and games include cornhole, paintball, three-legged races, a corn cannon, trike races, hayrides, a corn maze and a wagon train; family activities include face painting. costume contests, a climbing wall, jumping pillows, tire swings, a petting zoo and bonfires. Live music is featured on Fridays and Saturdays, and concessions are available.

Exeter Corn Maze State

Missouri MM, Exeter, Mo.


Open now through Nov. 7, Wednesdays-Sundays; hours vary according to activity. Check for more information.

The list of activities and events at this fall extravaganza are as long as your arm and includes scary, Halloween-themed events like the daytime haunted barn, zombie paintball and the haunted corn maze; and more family-friendly activities like swings, a petting zoo, hayrides, a pumpkin cannon, pumpkin jumps, a zip line, go karts and pig races.

Ozark Corn Maze

2991 Dead Horse Mountain Road, Fayetteville


Thursdays, noon-7 p.m.; Fridays, noon-10 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

At this location, you’ll find two separate corn mazes on 10 acres of land, hay stacks, an apple cannon, bounce pillows, the Rivercrest Express Train, a variety of slides, a huge pumpkin selection, free hayrides and live music.

Send your fall festival, corn maze or pumpkin patch to

Categories: Family Friendly