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Fall festivities presented by: Joes Farm  

Joe’s fall decorations around the tractor Photo Credit: Samantha Valentin and Erin Jones

By Samantha Valentin and Erin Jones / Staff Writers  

As the weather starts to cool and the leaves start to change, Joe’s Farm prepares for fall festivities. Locals are ready to jump and scream as they take a walk through the scariest corn maze in town. 

Joe McCracken, Owner of Joe’s Farm, continues the upkeep after generations of it being in the family. It is an effort from everyone as McCracken’s wife, kids and parents help with workloads. 

“The farm was originally started by my grandfather and his brother,” McCracken said. “They did the grain operation, and then my grandfather started doing agritourism stuff in the 80’s, like The Great Pumpkin Patch. And then, over the years my brother took over that and I spun off to do the nighttime activities over here.”  

 Thanks to the family efforts customers can all enjoy the special seasonal events hosted at Joe’s farm as well as plenty of fresh produce. During the days, there is a 5-acre corn maze to enjoy and coming very soon, the Fright Farm will be open for business. 

Staff member Wally Snyder has worked with the McCracken family for over 8 years. He started out working for McCracken’s brother and now he has recently been promoted to a management position on Joe’s Farm. 

“It’s a blast,” Snyder said. “It’s October. It’s a spooky season. What else are you going to do?”  

Snyder has expressed his love for the farm and especially cherishes this time of year. He started out as a scare actor for Fright Farm and now as manager, he gets to enjoy some interesting perks.  

“Most rewarding part about working at the Fright Farm, probably everyone screaming.” Snyder said. 

A bit different from McCracken’s perspective, nonetheless still a benefit of this time of year. The beauty of Western New York surroundings really makes this time special for McCracken. 

Corn maze sign. Photo Credit: Samantha Valentin and Erin Jones

“If you drive around the countryside, you just see all the leaves start to turn. They’ll go from green to yellow to orange and then some years you get nice vibrant reds and everything.” Said McCracken. 

However, Joe’s Farm’s attractions are not solely focused on frights — they are fun for all ages. Leroy resident, Rebecca Allen recently visited the blackout corn maze at Joe’s Farm with her husband and son.  

“We just want to do something fun with my son for the Halloween season, something more kid friendly,” Allen said. “We live in Leroy, but we just love this area. Being out in the country and being able to find little places like this to go to. In their ad it said it was going to be a relaxing night, and it definitely has been.”   

 Joe’s Farm was ranked No. 5 in New York state for their Fright Farm attraction. This was fan voted on The Scare Factor a few years back, unfortunately since then fan votes were discontinued. They still have a rating of 9.2 out of 10 on The Scare Factor from a professional review team as of two years ago.  

Although McCracken is passionate about fall festivities, he also feels strongly about environmental sustainability. All the produce and consumables are locally grown, without pesticides and chemicals to be ingested. 

Some of Joe’s squash. Photo Credit: Samantha Valentin and Erin Jones

“One of the big things is that we are stewards of the land,” McCracken said. “I want to make sure that the farm and everything I do to the land is good and healthy enough that my kids and my grandkids can pick up and carry on. When you’re purchasing food, always try to buy healthy local produce, if you can. That’s the biggest thing.”  

McCracken has hopes to expand his business throughout more seasons of the year very soon. Marketing has been somewhat of a struggle in these busy times and McCracken is open to looking for help regarding promotions.  

“We are looking to expand,” McCracken said. “I am actually looking to expand into Christmas time selling Christmas trees. We’ve always contemplated doing some other summertime festivals like a sunflower maze, a Sunflower and Sweet Corn Festival in the summertime. I’ve also contemplated doing something in the spring around Easter time for more of a family friendly event, but it’s always such a busy time.”  

 Even though marketing might need some help, the farm has plenty of workers rearing to go, including Joe’s family. Everyone helps even if it might not be their main focus in life. Joe’s retired parents still help out on the farm as well, always ready to give a hand with whatever is needed. 

 “I’ve got three little kids so they help out here when they can. No one likes to pull the weeds out although I make them. My dad actually lives here and does what he can. But we all do a different piece, like my sister does the chicken coops, she raises eggs and poultry and my mom’s retirement project was our flower garden.” 

McCracken genuinely loves what he does and it’s heavily reflected in his presence on the farm.  

 “It’s really nice to be able to do the work that I want and how I want to,” McCracken said. “I’m not beholden to somebody else to determine that for me. There is just something wholesome about being able to work the ground and get my hands dirty. The other day I was getting everything ready. It was getting stressful, and I was like you know what, I’m going to take half the morning, work in the backfield and I felt much better.” 

Joe’s Farm has been in the family for generations and will continue to flourish with their hard work and dedication being put into it. 

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