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Twisted Creek Ranch opens Oct. 1 to celebrate autumn and life on the farm

by: Barbara Adams,

Hundreds of old tires from Les Schwab line one of the newest attractions at Twisted Creek Ranch-a large track that visiting children will cruise along with all-terrain trikes, pulling wagons filled with hay. Along the way they'll stop and feed the goats, sheep, miniature horses.

Marissa Neldner snagged the tires from Les Schwab. The company normally pays to dispose of the used tires, so giving them away was a win-win deal. 'They supplied us with all the tires we need,' Neldner said.

Twisted Creek Ranch is a dream realized. When Aaron and Marissa Neldner bought 20 acres just outside of Estacada city limits, the property was in need of some real TLC. But Marissa had a vision-to create a small, family owned farm where school groups and families could come visit for 'some good old country fun.'

The ranch opened for business Oct. 2005. Since that first season, it's been non-stop preparation for this year's season, which begins Oct. 1 and ends on Halloween.

'I don't want to be known as just a place to get pumpkins,' Marissa said. 'I want to be the place to go to in October-a month-long celebration of fall and farm life.'

School groups will visit the ranch Tuesdays through Thursdays. The public is welcome to stop by Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and every weekend throughout the month, which will feature a themed celebration.

A carnival will be held opening weekend, Oct. 7 and 8. A full espresso stand will be there serving elephant ears and fresh cotton candy, Jolly Molly the clown will paint faces and make balloon animals, and pony rides will be available on Sunday.

Learn about farm life, past and present, the following weekend, Oct. 14 and 15. Storytellers from Philip Foster Farm will be there to share stories of the olden days; wool spinners and 4-H students will also be there to give live presentations.

The Twisted Creek Ranch Round Up will be held the weekend of Oct. 21 and 22, featuring the 'Rootin' Tootin' Rodeo,' complete with ribbons and prizes. Rooty-Tooty the rodeo clown will also be there, along with a mechanical bull.

The last weekend of the month will be Twisted Creek Ranch's annual Pumpkin Festival, where pumpkins will be celebrated with pumpkin 'chuckin', smashin', and tossin'.' Harmony Bakery is sponsoring a pumpkin pie-eating contest.

The general store will be open every weekend where local produce and handcrafted items along with antiques and old-fashioned candies will be on sale. Cody's 'farm fresh eggs' will also be available. Free cocoa, cider and coffee will be offered to everyone who visits.

Season passes are available this year so visitors can enjoy the month-long celebration for $20. General admission is $5 for children ages 2 to 18. Adults and children younger than 2 years old are admitted free. For more information, log onto twistedcreekranch.com.

Twisted Creek Ranch

30292 S.E. Lawrence Road

Open: Oct. 1-31

To the general public: Friday through Sunday 9-5

School/children's groups: Tuesday through Thursday

Cost: $5 per child

Info: 503-630-4611

Twistedcreekranch.com