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Pop-Up Pumpkins and "Fake" Farms: Navigating New Competition in Agritourism

In the dynamic world of agritourism, traditional farm venues are encountering an unexpected rival: pop-up pumpkin events and "fake" farms. These temporary attractions have surged in popularity across the US and Canada, setting up in bustling urban areas to offer pumpkin-themed experiences. With features like mini corn mazes, pumpkin houses, and extensive lighted trails, they're drawing city dwellers away from the countryside and into their metropolitan fall festivities.

The appeal of these pop-ups is undeniable, with admission prices between $20 and $35 attracting large crowds. Notable examples include the Bronx Zoo's pumpkin trail, drawing over 100,000 visitors each fall, and Jack's Pumpkin Pop-Up in Chicago, which welcomed over 80,000 people in October 2023. This shift in consumer preference poses a significant challenge for traditional agritourism operators, who now face competition not from neighboring farms but from urban pop-ups.

So, how can farm venues adapt and thrive in this changing landscape? At AMG, we offer these key strategies:

  1. Enhance the Fall Aesthetics: Transform your farm into a photogenic haven with eye-catching decorations, lighting, and landscaping. Create picturesque spots that visitors will want to share on social media.

  2. Step Up the Fall Experience: Elevate your offerings with seasonal foods and beverages, and consider adding options like beer or wine. Host live music and themed events to keep guests engaged and eager to return.

  3. Innovate and Diversify: Flip the script and beat them at their own game. Expand your attractions and services to provide new and unique fall experiences that complement your existing offerings. Lean into authentic farm experiences like pumpkins trails, flower fields, and animal experiences to set you apart. Welcome new guests by expanding your operating hours to encompass fall nights when busy families have more free time. 

  4. Execute a Marketing Plan: Anticipate aggressive marketing from your new pop-up competitors. The best defense is a good offense. Develop a robust and comprehensive  marketing plan to effectively share your story and attract more visitors.

By focusing on these strategies, traditional farm venues can safeguard their market share and flourish amidst the rise of pop-up competition. With over a decade of experience working with the fastest-growing experiential businesses across the U.S. and Canada, AMG is dedicated to guiding our clients through these challenges and ensuring their success in the ever-evolving agritourism industry. Stay a step ahead of the competition and explore a partnership with AMG today.

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