Thomas Family Farm offers fall fun SNOHOMISH - The Thomas Family Farm has been passed down since the early 1900s from a great-uncle to a grandfather to a father, and then finally to two sons. Now Marvin Thomas and his wife Debbie are getting ready to open it up for one of the biggest farm festivals in the valley with something for every member of the family.
The 490-acre farm on the corner of Highway 9 and Marsh Road will host corn mazes, a haunted house for both adults (scary) and kids (monster-free), paintball, a “treasure-hunt” pumpkin patch, a monster truck ride, gem mining and a zombie safari.
Excited co-owner Marvin Thomas practically tore the phone away from his wife in a phone interview to talk about the Zombie Safari Paintball Hayride for which he bought franchise rights, ensuring that there will be no experience quite like it within a 300-mile radius of the farm.
Marvin discovered the idea of the safe but fun and scary way to shoot paintballs at live, moving targets while visiting St. Louis. He brought the idea back to his farm to add to the monthlong fall festival.
This is the family farm’s first year opening up the farm to a wild ride of agritourism specials for the fall season. The fun begins Thursday, Sept. 27.
Marvin can pull up to four trailers, each with 10 mounted paintball guns for the zombie safari. The guns shoot glow-in-the-dark paint at people dressed up as zombies within 50 to 100 feet of the trailers.
Debbie says she will make sure the zombie safari doesn’t go over the top and become too scary.
“It’s important for the kids to know that the zombies can’t get to them,” Marvin said.
The farm’s haunted house, with nighttime frights recommended for kids 12 and up, will have four “Monster Be Gone” days when the lights will stay on and the younger crowd can enjoy a toned-down version of the experience.
The monster-less hours will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday in October.
New ideas for an old farm
Marvin said his family-owned farm needed something to carry them through the winter months and last year started working with his wife and other area farmers to come up with the many activities he’ll be hosting during Snohomish’s annual Festival of Pumpkins.
The Thomas farm was once one of 32 dairy farms between Highway 9 and Everett, but tough economic times forced the Thomases to get out of the dairy business. Now only one dairy farm remains in the area, Marvin said.
The Thomas family sold its 900 dairy cows that were milked three times a day from 2005 to 2007.
“It was very tough because (dairy cows) have been in the family for about 100 years, but it was just economics that forced us to do that,” Marvin said.
Now where the nearly 1,750 animals once stood are plots filled with bright orange pumpkins and a corn maze in the shape of a wolf howling in a moon.
Radio station 100.7 “The Wolf” is sponsoring the eight-acre, three-mile corn maze, and Debbie said the family hired Idaho company Mazeplay to design the maze in the shape of the station’s logo. There also is “Farm Scene Investigation,” a game within the maze which challenges participants to find the missing Farmer Joe by using a clue book and checkpoints.
Kids up to age 11 wanting to tackle the puzzle can participate in a smaller version of the “whodunit” game, which follows a .3 mile maze within the larger maze. This “Lil Paws” Farm Tracks game has kids using checkpoints and making crayon rubbings of animal prints to figure out who stole Farmer Joe’s pie.
“It’s very educational,” Debbie said.
Debbie said they have been planning this event for a year and is excited to open.