Pasco’s Country Mercantile is still holding its annual Harvest Festival

Country Mercantile Harvest Festival

PASCO, Wash. —  For about 25 years Country Mercantile owner Jay Wood has been running the store and their annual Harvest Festival. Though the 2020 festival will look a little different, the show must go on.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Wood. “It would take something a little more than what we’ve got to have us shut down completely.”

However, with COVID-19 case counts and business regulations constantly fluctuating, they didn’t know exactly what the event was going to look like until recently.

“This whole summer’s been day by day, with the store and everything else,” said Wood. “You wake up and see what the world has and make your plans for that day.”

Just Tuesday – a few days before the scheduled opening of the annual festival – Governor Inslee released new regulations for agritourism. Under the latest changes, businesses in Phase 1.5 can now operate as if they were in Phase 2.

For Wood, that means they can incorporate a few more features, though the carnival rides will still have to wait until next year.

“It made us scramble a little bit but we’ll get it all ready in time,” he said. “It brings in the corn maze and quite a few other things which we’re grateful for.”

They ask that visitors stopping by are healthy and social distance as much as they can. Fortunately, most of their activities will take place outdoors.

”We’re trying to make it as fun as we can and safe as we can so that everybody can come out and enjoy,” said Wood.

The festival will feature a straw bale pyramid, virtual petting zoo, corn maze, straw bale maze, hay rides, a pumpkin patch and photo booth. 

Starting Saturday, Sept. 26, it will be open Monday through Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $7, but kids two years old and under are free.