Fun in the Fall: The Cottage debuts Pumpkin & Pickle Festival

Oct. 3—The Cottage Farm Stand & Baking Co. started off the fall season in style this weekend with its debut of the Pumpkin & Pickle Festival.

While the initial plan was to include sunflowers in honor of the business' intended second annual Sunflower & Pickle Festival, the new addition went off without a hitch and did not deter folks from embracing the space The Cottage offers.

"It's been great," said Marlene Knight, owner of The Cottage. "The weather's been great and I think people are responding well to the change but (they) also have so many things to do when they come out."

The Sunflower & Pickle Festival was to take place, at first, but Knight reorganized the event after the sunflowers bloomed and disappeared earlier than anticipated.

But Knight feels it was the right move, saying "a lot bigger crowd" was being drawn in.

"(The event's) revamped," she said. "Before, we were really a pickle festival and we had a sunflower field. ... This just really doubled everything because we added the whole pumpkin (element)."

Besides offering attendees the chance to try out a wide range of pumpkin and pickle-oriented foods and drinks, children and families were able to participate in other happenings, including a five-acre corn maze, picking out the perfect pumpkin from the pumpkin patch and getting up-close-and-personal with farm animals at a petting zoo.

And for some, it was a day of celebration with Owensboro's Jason Belew celebrating his wife Stefanie's birthday with their 8 1/2-year-old son Jase.

"It's been great," Belew said. "It's been a nice day and there's a lot of people out."

The food options and activities were coupled with 75 vendors of arts and crafts entities, local and regional artisans and other small businesses on the grounds, who were also taking in the family-friendly atmosphere.

Bella Wood, baker and owner of Sweet B's Bakery, heard positive things about The Cottage and wanted to experience it herself.

From a business standpoint, Wood stayed consistently busy.

"Yesterday I sold out," Wood said. "And today, we've got a good amount going."

Kim Payne, an independent consultant for Norwex, has participated in The Cottage's Strawberry Festival and touts Knight's focus on promoting small businesses as one of the reasons she keeps coming back.

"Marlene is very accommodating to her vendors," she said. "She puts on a great show."

By the end of the two days, Knight anticipated the attendance to be about 3,500 people.

She hopes the amount of people that came to the festival helps with her overarching goal of bringing more folks to The Cottage on a regular basis.

"What this does is we meet so many people that didn't know about us as being a restaurant or coffee shop that's open every day of the week," she said. "So when they come out, they go 'Wow, we didn't even know you were here' or 'You're not very far out.' "

And Knight feels bringing more awareness to people about The Cottage's offerings is the most significant takeaway.

"... Mostly it was learning about us and that we have this space out here, and that we have opportunities out here for families that now they know about," Knight said. "I think that's the biggest success of the whole thing is to learn about not just The Cottage as a business, but particularly as The Cottage as an event destination.