Fall Festival draws visitors from all over to Othello

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | October 7, 2020 1:00 AM

OTHELLO — Anthony Arena didn’t plan on spending a Saturday wandering around the County Cousins corn maze with his family.

But as the Connell resident carried his 1-year-old daughter, Naleyah, on his shoulders, that’s exactly what he was doing.

“Our son saw it as we were driving by and he wanted us to stop,” Arena said as he tried to figure out the best way through the five-acre corn maze.

It was a warm Saturday and the first day of the Country Cousins’ celebrated Fall Festival, and the patch of ground at the corner of SR-17 and Hatton Road about three miles south of Othello was full of people visiting from far away.

“We came all the way here from Wenatchee,” said Bryce Johnson as he stood in line for sweets with his five-year-old daughter Josie. “This is our first time. I heard about it from a friend in Moses Lake. We’ve been here a couple of hours, and this is fun.”

When Josie was asked what she liked best about the festival, her answer was simple.

“Everything!” she said.

The Country Cousins Fall Festival is two months of celebrating family and farming, and offers a hay ride, a “train” ride (converted water barrels pulled by four-wheeler), a petting zoo, pumpkin bowling, a giant inflated “bouncy pillow” to jump on, a two-acre pumpkin patch, and a five-acre big corn maze to get lost in.

“We got lost in the maze for about an hour,” said Rebecca Gordon, a mother of three who brought her kids Parker, Charlie and Decker all the way from Lind for the day.

“It’s huge,” she added.

Country Cousins is a roadside stand operated by Freeman Farms, and the family started the Fall Festival in 2015 not only as an opportunity to give visiting families some fun time together but also as a way of bringing the giant extended Freeman family together.

“It gives our kids an opportunity to learn how to work and earn some money for college and other things,” said Steven Freeman. “We’re all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so they earn money for going on missions, going to school, you know, all of that.”

Noting the line that had formed around one of the admissions booth, Freeman said that Saturday may have been their best opening day yet, though he noted that in 2019, opening day was “freezing.”

The Fall Festival will be open six days a week until the end of October. Admissions prices are $8 per person 8 years and older, $5 per child aged 3-7, and $7 per person aged 55 and older. In addition, they offer special group rates.

“We’re closed on Sunday,” Freeman said. “I want to be with my family too.”

Freeman’s brother-in-law Craig Phillips stands flipping burgers and noting the size of the crowd. Weekdays are a good time for families to visit, he notes, but on Saturday’s, the food is better.

“By far the most successful things we do is the Fall Festival,” Phillips said. “This is a very light day. It will get much busier.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com

photo

Charles H. Featherstone

Kathryn Phillips, 15, and her cousin Jaycey Freeman, 14, practice pumpkin bowling on Saturday on the opening day of County Cousins' Fall Festival.