McCoard’s Garden Center in Provo is hosting its annual fall festival this month for, maybe, the last time because Provo City has plans to build a road right over the farm to connect to the new Provo High School. This family-friendly center and farm, located 10 minutes away from UVU, provides fun Halloween activities like a corn maze, zombie paint ball, a hay ride, a pumpkin patch and a zipline for people of all ages in the surrounding communities.
“It is close to everything. Whether you’re at BYU or UVU, there is a lot of stuff you can do here and have fun with it,” McCoards Garden Center manager Kevin Maryott said. “This could be the last year, maybe. … We are really trying hard to work with the city to come up with a solution.”
According to Maryott, the purpose of the fall festival isn’t for the McCoard family to make extra money; in fact, they barely break even during the festival. This event is for the 20,000 community members that attend every year.
“We would love to keep this going because it is an opportunity for us to give back to the community. We also employ over 60 youth here for the fall festival. … There is nothing on this side of town that will employ youth,” Maryott said. “This is what is left on the rural side of Provo. This is a loss for the McCaord family, for the community and for the universities. … This is a place for the community to come together and have some fun.”
Eric Lund, a third-year employee of McCoard’s Garden Center, likes his ability to work with a lot of different people and likes seeing how the fall festival really brings the community together.
“I love the social activity that I get when I come here. … It’s an awesome experience and a great way to meet people,” Lund said.
Provo City, in its general plan and the city transportation plan, wants to build a road called the West Side Connector, which will run right through the McCoard farm’s south zip-line pole, a part of t
he pumpkin patch, the corn maze and the hayride area. Once the road is complete, it will cut through every single remaining farm in Provo on the west side of the city by the Provo Airport.
“The reasoning for the west side connector is for connectivity to I-15, to provide more access to airport and the new Provo high school, increase travel demand and enforce safe traffic,” principle engineer for Provo City Shane Winter said.
Many students and local community members are sad to hear about the closing of the farm but are hopeful that Provo City and the farms can work something out. Chaese Sims, a UVU engineering junior, and Whitney Baker, a UVU secondary math education freshman, agreed that it is unfortunate that this may be the last year of the fall festival. But, they both strongly agree that if the city is doing everything legally and peacefully, then that’s better than the city taking the whole farm away from the McCoard family.
If the plans go through, this will be the last year that the McCoard’s host their fall festival with the corn maze, zipline and other activities. It is open until the end of October.