UPDATE: Pumpkin Land announces it will not reopen this fall

MECHANIC FALLS — Two years after a teenager died in a hayride crash, Pumpkin Land will reopen for the Halloween season.

Well, maybe.

A post on the Harvest Hill Farm Facebook page earlier this month indicates that the popular autumnal attraction will resume operation on Oct. 1.

“Pumpkin Land and all of the hard work put into it by two families over twenty years will live on,” according to the post. “While it is modified, a change of venue and name change, the integrity and quality of the family event will continue on.”

The post is signed Anna Bolduc, daughter of Peter Bolduc Jr., who owned the attraction at the time of the 2014 crash.

The post, dated Sept. 17, drew dozens of comments and was shared more than 500 times by locals who largely support the idea of reopening Pumpkin Land.

“Great news!” commented a Rumford woman. “We absolutely adore this place.”

“Cannot wait to visit,” offered a Casco man. “So happy for you guys.”

The problem: No further information has been offered since the original post. The Harvest Hill Farm website was down and the Bolduc family, who lost the business to foreclosure following the fatal accident, did not respond to inquiries.

By Wednesday evening, the Facebook post appeared to be abandoned, with questions about Pumpkin Land going unanswered.

“Any news?” wondered one woman, who posted around 8:30 a.m.

“Is this really opening on Saturday?” asked another later Wednesday afternoon.

“Hoping to plan a visit,” commented a third, “but looking for a location?”

Anna Bolduc’s original announcement certainly seemed to indicate that reopening was the plan.

“We will be opening on October 1st,” she wrote in the Sept. 17 post. “More information coming in the days to follow.”

In the Facebook announcement, Anna Bolduc reported that the operators of Pumpkin Land would not seek entry fees to the attraction. Instead, they planned to ask visitors for donations on their way out.

“Pay when you leave,” according to Bolduc’s post. “We will have suggested donations and you will have the opportunity to pay what you think is fair. Risky? Maybe. I’m a faith based millennial entrepreneur. I believe there is more good than bad in this world.”

She also asked for help from Facebook followers in spreading the word about the event.

“And, who can afford to advertise during this crazy election year?” Bolduc wrote. “I needed to do something that would engage the most effective and cost effective advertising of all, word of mouth. Please spread the word. Thank you for your time and I look forward to continuing the stewardship of a quality, family brand that so many have grown up with.”

Two mortgage holders of land and buildings at 125 Pigeon Hill Road in Mechanic Falls, which included Pumpkin Land and The Gauntlet, bought back the property from Andover Covered Bridge LLC owner Peter Bolduc Jr. at an auction in July.

On Tuesday, the man who drove the Jeep in the fatal hayride was found not guilty of reckless conduct by a Sagadahoc County Superior Court jury after 2½ hours of deliberation.

Earlier this year, Randy Charette, whose daughter, Cassidy, was killed in the 2014 hayride accident at Pumpkin Land, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company and Peter Bolduc Jr., claiming damages resulting from Cassidy’s death. The civil case is pending.


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