Pandemic Cancels Blackberry Farm Pumpkin Weekends, Holiday Express 

Pandemic Cancels Blackberry Farm Pumpkin Weekends, Holiday Express 

Holiday Express, a December tradition at Blackberry Farm, has been cancelled for 2020 due to the pandemic.

Due to the significant restrictions placed on Blackberry Farm, which is unique in that it carries both museum and theme-park status, the Fox Valley Park District has opted to cancel two of the living history museum’s signature, holiday-themed events.

Pumpkin Weekends, normally held on weekends in October, and Holiday Express, a December event, are the latest 2020 cancellations triggered by the ongoing pandemic.

“We wanted to make the announcement now, because we know both of these events have become family traditions during the holiday season,” said Holly Wiggins, facility manager at Blackberry Farm. “We understand and share the community’s disappointment; however, holding these events in the current situation simply would not be feasible from an operations standpoint.”

Included in the state’s Restore Illinois Phase 4 museum guidelines, Blackberry Farm is prevented from:

  • Operating at more than 25% capacity.
  • Opening hands-on exhibits, such as the barn animal exhibit and pony rides.
  • Offering ride attractions (carousel, train and hay wagon).

“Without the animals and rides, it all kind of works against us,” Wiggins said. “Our hay wagons serve as the most popular attraction during fall weekends, and the train is our centerpiece for Holiday Express. With the attractions closed, and with limited attendance allowed, we wouldn’t be able to offer the fun, festive experiences — for either event — that our guests deserve.”

Blackberry Farm, closed since March 16, remains available for private rentals at picnic areas and the event barn. Preschool (with new guidelines) returns five days a week, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8, and Wiggins and her staff “are looking forward to hosting smaller-scale versions of some of our special events.”

For the latest updates and events, visit Blackberry Farm’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BlackberryFarmFoxValley/.