Fright the Night



For nearly 10 years, Julie and Lieutenant Colonel Kirk Berggren have lived and breathed pumpkins. The husband-and-wife team is the sole owner and creator of an autumn staple in Johnson County: the Kansas City Pumpkin Patch. The patch has grown exponentially since its 2003 introduction, but when the gates open for this fall season, patch-goers will have something brand-new to experience — if they dare.

The KC Fear Farm will make its haunted debut on September 29th to excited teens and adults from near and far. Julie Berggren has been waiting a long time for this moment.

“We’ve been working on the Fear Farm for three years,” Julie explains. “There is nothing like it in Kansas. But we knew if we were going to do it, it had to be done really, really well. We’re known for our quality, so we had to maintain that same level of excellence with the Fear Farm.”

The KC Fear Farm is a full-on sensory overload of frights, freaks and terrors. Brave patrons will pay one fee to find their way through five completely different and unique haunts: Buried Alive, Circus Asylum, Field of Screams (a corn maze fright), Kansas Twister and Insane Reaction. Each haunt is custom-designed to leave thrill-seekers breathless and running scared.

“We basically took the essence of the downtown haunted houses, picked them up, and dropped them in the middle of a cornfield, “Julie says. “We wanted there to be an alternative to the haunted houses for kids to try out.”

The KC Fear Farm is a far cry from the wholesome, pleasant experience that the KC Pumpkin Patch provides, and that’s exactly what owner Kirk is after.

“Over the years, I’ve watched the same kids come back to experience the Pumpkin Patch,” Kirk says. “But those little kids are teenagers now. The Fear Farm gets us back a demographic of kids we were about to lose. We have something for them to get excited about again.”

• KC Fear Farm is located at 29755 W. 191st St., Gardner, Kan., and is open from dusk to 11:00 p.m. nightly, Sept. 23 through Oct. 27.

• KC Fear Farm costs $19.95 and covers admission to all five attractions; discounted tickets are available by visiting the website. Blue Valley Foundation and Olathe High School Bands will sell tickets as fundraisers for $15 with 20 percent being donated to the schools. Other fundraising options are available.

• KC Fear Farm is recommended for those over the age of 12.

Mike Hilton, a Johnson County resident and friend of the Berggrens, has visited the patch for years with his son. Hilton recently took a sneak peek tour through the Fear Farm to experience it for himself.

The Berggrens have created a twisted world of psychotic clowns and living nightmares, but they have done it as a family. For Julie, the patch-farm combo is a full-time job, while her husband still maintains a position as a FedEx pilot during the rest of the year. You might think a full-time seasonal job like this would be overwhelming, but Julie couldn’t be happier.

“I subscribe to the philosophy that it doesn’t matter what profession you choose; do it well and do what you love,” Julie says. “If you do those two things, you’ll be a happy business person.”

The Berggrens have taken their love for family entertainment to the next scary level with the KC Fear Farm endeavor. They’re ready to scare the “crop” out of you — will your family accept the challenge?

Visit kcfearfarm.com for more information.