In July, Jeff Waters’ three-acre corn maze was just a figment of his imagination. The stubby stalks were behind schedule but he never lost hope they would make it in time. When Whitehall Farms, LLC -- over 200 acres bordering on the Clifton, Fairfax Station and Fairfax areas -- opened its first annual Fall Fun Days festival on Sept. 19, the corn was plenty high to get lost in.
Waters’ wife Nadine Vazquez grew up on the farm where her father Martin, a Cuban immigrant and medic in World War II, raised cattle. To save the family farm, rather than sell the property to developers, Waters decided to start a sustainable farming operation and market that would also employ and benefit veterans and vets’ organizations.
His vision for the festival was a laid-back environment where families could spread out and enjoy the farm’s open space, walk a corn maze, pick pumpkins, mingle with livestock and go for a tractor-drawn hayride. Even at full capacity, Waters expects the open field area of the farm to allow 300 square feet of space per patron.
The first day of the festival, summer-like temperatures kept numbers down somewhat below Waters’ hopes, but he expects things to pick up as it begins to feel more like fall. As for the patrons who did come out the first weekend, “We’ve gotten a great response so far,” Waters said. “They like how laid back it is; it’s completely different than anything around us.”
He’s particularly proud of the one-mile round-trip hayride through a wooded area of the farm. Three rented tractors pull wagons over a trail of milled asphalt freshly delivered from Colchester Road.
Sunday of the first weekend, slightly lower temperatures brought out Jennifer Flynn and her children of Ashburn, who was meeting her friend from Centreville. “It’s a perfect day to get outside and play,” Flynn said. “We live in a townhouse; the kids love space, it’s great they can run around and be a kid.”
Sara Breaux, of Fairfax, also appreciated the less crowded but “very friendly” atmosphere. As she and her family began to walk through the dense stalks of corn, she said she was excited to “Be Harry Potter,” referencing a maze scene from the “Goblet of Fire” book in the popular series.
Whitehall Farms Fall Fun Days runs Saturdays and Sundays until Nov. 1 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.whitehall.farm.
More like this story
- Clifton: Whitehall Farms Opens Second Fall Fun Days
- Fairfax Station: Saving the Whitehall Family Farm
- Rope Swings, Pumpkins, Hayrides, Baby Animals at Cox Farms
- Burke-Springfield-Fairfax Entertainment Calendar through October
- Centreville Farm Hosts Fall Festival: Hayrides, Baby Animals, Fields of Fear at Cox Farms