#EscapeWithNCAg is a year-long series that will focus on agritourism across North Carolina. Many farms, wineries and other agricultural businesses in our state offer events such as tours, yoga, educational classes, pick-your-own events and festivals, to entertain the public and teach them about our state’s number one industry. Each Thursday, we will feature a new site for you to visit with friends or family. Stay tuned and learn how to escape the stresses of life by diving into agriculture!
Are you looking for a scary good time this fall? Look no further than Aw Shucks Farms and The 13th Acre Haunt in Monroe. In 2008, Bonnie Griffin started Aw Shucks Farm originally to focus on educational programming. “I had dreamed of owning and operating a farm for a few years,” she said, “but coming from a teaching background, I wanted it to be somewhere that people could come and learn about agriculture, farming and more.” Field trips and farm tours were offered immediately once the doors were open at Aw Shucks Farm. Although they are still offered today, the farm has expanded to add many agritourism events since 2008. “Our goal has been to add something new every year since we opened,” Bonnie said. “We’ve connected with many other agritourism destinations around us to generate ideas and continue to keep our offerings unique to the community.” Today, the farm offers a variety of events throughout the year, including day camps and a haunted attraction.
Agritourism is more like a way of life at Aw Shucks Farm. Each idea generated at the farm centers on providing unique experiences for the community to enjoy, including a train car from the 1800’s where kids can learn about farming during the day and adults can enjoy casino games in the evening. “This space is very unique because people can either learn about or remember what it was like to ride the train years ago,” Bonnie said. “We make that space versatile so that it can be flipped to entertain both children and adults. We also have other older buildings and items on-site around the farm for people to visit and take a step back in time.” Perhaps one of their most-popular day time attractions, Camp Back to the Basics, centers on teaching children how to do things that aren’t as commonly taught as they were in years past.
Camp Back to the Basics is offered on select days during the summer months at Aw Shucks Farm. Kids between the ages of 10 and 17 can attend a day on the farm and learn many valuable tasks, like fishing, construction and mechanic basics, skeet shooting, archery, fire safety, how to operate a lawn mower and more! “This event is so popular for us because many of these life skills are not taught like they used to be,” Bonnie said. “Kids from across the state and beyond sign up for the camps each year and I love to watch them grow and learn throughout the day. It’s fun to see which activities they enjoy the most, although driving the gator around is always a top hit!” The eight-hour day camp costs $125 per person with all food and drinks for the day included.
Fall on the farm is the most anticipated and attended time at the farm because of their haunted attraction, the 13th Acre Haunt. “We started the haunted attraction a few years ago and, honestly, it has outgrown everything else we’ve offered here as far as agritourism,” Bonnie said. The 13th Acre Haunt will feature three attractions this year: (1) Reapers Row, which is a haunted corn maze, (2) Coffin Creek and the (3) Forbidden Acre, which are both haunted buildings/houses. “We have about 60 actors that dress up in a variety of scary costumes, including clowns, zombies and ghosts,” Bonnie said. “Not only can they be found in the three attractions, but also wandering the grounds throughout the night.” The haunted attraction also features food, drinks, a soda shop/farm store, cornhole and many photo op areas. The farm also acquired its beer and wine license this past year, so keep an eye out for that! The 13th Acre Haunt will cost $25 per ticket this year and will be open on Friday and Saturday nights starting next weekend, September 22nd, and running through October 28th. It will also be open on Sunday, Oct. 22nd, Sunday, Oct. 29th and Halloween night.
The 13th Acre Haunt has become Bonnie’s most favorite part of the year because of all the creativity she is able to launch through it. “I never grew up a haunted attraction type of person,” she said, “but it has become the most creative outlet for me. I am also one of the few female haunt owners, so that’s a big source of pride for me.” Check out their website today to purchase your tickets to the 13th Acre Haunt and plan your trip out to the farm this fall for a spooky fun time!