Kira Comer

Kira Comer, the daughter of Danny and Samantha Comer of Goreville, picks out just the right pumpkin.

BENTON, Ill. — Breezy Hill Farm looks a lot different than it did a decade ago, when Reggie and Jamee Shelton’s small farm consisted of a few pumpkins, some straw and a coffee can in which customers would put their money.

Jamee Shelton

Breezy Hill Farm owner Jamee Shelton, right, enjoys a laugh with two customers.

Such a placid scene is long gone. A recent Saturday saw hundreds of kids of all ages scurrying about the place, enjoying all it has to offer as an “agritainment” destination.

tricycle track

Kids race around a gravel tricycle track.

The Sheltons turned their humble place into a wild entertainment site where children engage in a myriad of activities. They include corn pits, a tricycle racing track, beanbag games, a petting zoo and a duck-race game in which competitors use water pump handles with the goal to push a plastic duck over the line on the other side.

corn maze

A girl contemplates entering a corn maze.

Pumpkins and other gourds

Pumpkins and other gourds of all sizes and shapes are for sale.

Wagon rides carried customers back and forth all day. There is not only a corn maze here, but a fence maze. A concession stand boasts a long line, and a gift shop offers many souvenirs. And, of course, there are plenty of pumpkins and other gourds for sale.

It is one of many such farms throughout the Midwest that bring out families in droves, eager to engage in some wholesome fun. Moms and dads welcome the opportunity to let their kids wear themselves out.

giant tiles to roll down a track

Mothers watch as their children use giant tiles to roll down a track.

Nat Williams is Southern Illinois field editor, writing for Illinois Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Missouri Farmer Today.