Old McDonald Farm one year later after devastating fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Old McDonald Farm one year later after devastating fire

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SALE CREEK, TN (WRCB) -

It's fall and that means it's time to pick out pumpkins, but one popular pumpkin patch says they're lucky enough to even open this year.

Old McDonald Farm in Sale Creek just can't catch a break. The farm suffered a nearly one-million dollar loss last October, when the attraction's main barn caught fire.

About 80% of the farm's equipment, tools and supplies were among the ashes. Operations manager Brant Crowder says they've been working to get it back piece by piece and still have a long way to go. 

"Well it started last fall with the fire and too much rain and then we started this year with basically too little rain," says Crowder. " It's hot, the drought started early. We've basically been in a rebuilding process since then trying to figure out what we can afford how we can afford it." 

Now at the start of a new season and a new beginning, this year's unseasonably warm temperatures in the mid 90s have hurt business and hurt the pumpkins. 

Crowder says they're still ready for picking, they're just not as big this year. 

"We've not had any crowds, everybody just doesn't want to come out in the heat because it doesn't feel like fall," says Crowder. 

It took months of hard work to get the doors back open and it came down to the wire. A new education pavilion now sits where the old barn used to be. It was finished just three weeks ago.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Fire at Old McDonald Farm in Sale Creek 

"We still use it for storage somewhat but we are using it for our hayride line to go through to give a little bit of shade for the customers and then we are using it for our presentations for our field trips," says Crowder. "We're just having to slowly go back to where we were; it will take a while, it will probably take five or 10 years to get back to where we were."

The hayride remains a favorite for youngsters who are excited to pick out that special pumpkin this year. There's a new cow coaster, corn maze and barn yard pedal tractor there too. Kids can still play with big and little critters all while learning about life on a farm. 

Old McDonald Farm is open Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm until October 30th. 

Click here to visit their website.

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