"A couple decades ago everybody had a relative on a farm and today there's not that many people who have many relatives on the farm," Donnie Beggs said.
So every fall for the past few years, visitors from all over the region -- and the United States, for that matter -- visit the Beggs family farm located six miles north of Sikeston. There they attempt to conquer the giant cornfield maze, pick pumpkins and participate in other farm activities.
Now the couple are offering more to do on the farm with spring/Easter and strawberry festivals.
"This is nothing like fall," admitted Beggs. "October is always going to be the Cadillac, and Halloween rules for farm entertainment, but people have gotten used to it here."
In May, Beggs will offer a strawberry festival May 14-15 and 21-22. Saturday hours are 10-7 p.m. and Sunday hours will be noon to 6 p.m.
At the Easter festival, wagon rides will be available for children and adults to find their own Easter eggs. Youngsters can also visit with and have their picture taken with the Easter bunny.
For the strawberry festival visitors can take a wagon ride to pick their own strawberries. Strawberries will also be available without having to pick them, Beggs assured.
"But they're not just coming to pick Easter eggs, and they're not just coming to pick strawberries," Beggs said.
Activities at both festivals include Moonlight Barnyard Golf, a 9-hole, glow-
in-the-dark, farm-themed miniature golf game set up inside a dark barn, a rope maze and a farm train.
A construction-themed maze, called Miner Max, with a gemstone mining sluice is avialable, too. It consists of an open air maze over and around a variety of oversize obstacles that make maze questers have to work for their way out.
There's also the Fort of Fun play area which is literally a wooden fort complete with tunnels and bridges for children. Outside the Fort of Fun is a 17-foot slide. Across the farm is a chicken coop, pigs, sheep, goats, a "milking cow" and a puppet show. A gift shop is also on site for visitors.
Like in the fall, the festivals will be open through the week, Tuesday through Friday, for school tours only, Beggs said.
"With the school kids, we always try to do something educational and when we spread the kids out to more festivals, we can have more one-on-one time," Beggs said.
In the fall it's often hard for the one-on-one time with the students, which is why information signs are also displayed with the farm animals and other activities, Beggs explained.
"There are kids everyday on buses and they drive by fields of crops growing, and they don't know about it. Then (after they visit) when they see crops growing, maybe they will think about it and their importance to them," Beggs said, adding the same applies to the farm animals.
By offering the different festivals, Beggs noted it also gives the public a chance to learn about other crops, such as the strawberries.
"People will be interested in how we water them, when we plant them and how they grow," Beggs said.
In addition to the seasonal festivals, Beggs Family Farm also offers birthday parties on the farm by reservation only as well as corporate picnics and family reunions.
During the birthday parties or other large group gatherings, visitors will have access to all of the play areas and picnic areas, Beggs said, adding events can be catered or visitors can provide their own food.
"The one reason we did this is we have small kids and there's not really much to do as a family," Beggs said. "We're hoping that we'll help give people another option and get them out of the house and on the farm."
For more information, visit www.beggsfamilyfarm.com or call (573) 471