When a massive grass fire swept across hundreds of acres of the Lumsden valley in April, residents weren’t sure if anything could withstand the blaze.
“There was fire everywhere,” Lumsden Fire Deputy Chief Preston Eckert recalled. “The wind was up that day too, so it was moving quite quick.”
The Schaefer family home escaped by inches, with the heat melting the siding on the house.
They would lose their nearby garage, truck, and tractor in the fire- but their beloved Happy Hollow narrowly avoided destruction.
Five months later, the Schaefers are paying tribute to the firefighters who battled the flames.
“They saved our home. They saved our farm, and it’s the least we can do to show our gratitude,” Happy Hollow owner Tiffany Schaefer said.
This year’s intricate corn maze is emblazoned with a fire shield and axe, and the message ‘Lumsden Heroes Saving Lives.’
“We were quite surprised, actually,” Eckert said with a smile. “The view from the air is amazing. I couldn’t believe the detail.”
Happy Hollow also battled unsavoury snowy and rainy conditions early on in the fall.
Despite the setbacks, hundreds of people have returned to the valley for fall staples like the corn maze, hay rides, petting zoos, and corn cannons.
On Saturday, Happy Hollow donated a dollar for every customer to the Lumsden Volunteer Fire Department.
“It was a wonderful gesture on their part. We certainly appreciate it,” Eckert added. “Being volunteer, it’s nothing you ever ask for, but the fact they did it makes us really happy.”
Time has erased most of the scars left by the spring wildfires, and for Happy Hollow, it’s a chance to return to business as usual.
“When the fire came, we didn’t know if we would be able to open this year, and it was heartbreaking- but there’s so many people out today, it’s amazing. i’m glad to see everybody,” Schaefer said.
And by the looks of it, longtime visitors are glad to be back.