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Despite heat, crowds in fall mood at Great Pumpkin Farm opening

With temperatures in the 80s and bright sunshine, Sunday felt more like late summer than a day to pick out a pumpkin.

But the heat didn't deter those who turned out for this weekend's opening of the Great Pumpkin Farm attraction in Clarence.

Katy Toth, manager of the pumpkin farm, has worked there since 2000 and said the weather for opening weekend wasn't unusual in her experience. "We can deal with the heat, it's the cold and the snow we don't want," she said.

People who turned out for the first event-filled days at the farm were in the mood for autumn and its spooky holiday, said Toth. "I think people are ready," she said. "We've got the Halloween store, and there are people shopping in there for their decorations; the store did very well."

Also popular was the farm's new Witches Brew Bar and Cafe, which serves specialty Halloween drinks and craft beers.

The pumpkin farm is now open daily from 10 a.m. to dusk. Admission is free Monday through Friday for sales of pumpkins, baked goods and seasonal items. The playground, hay maze and one of the petting zoos are also open.

On weekends, games, including an old-West-themed laser shooting gallery, live performances and bands and various specialty events are held. Saturday and Sunday, the pumpkin farm is the site of Oinktoberfest, a barbecue competition and festival. Weekend admission for everyone age 3 and up is $8 at the gate and $6.50 in advance for tickets purchased at Wegmans.

Crowds turning out for future weekend events can expect more seasonable temperatures, said Aaron Reynolds, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

Reynolds called the spell of mid-September hot weather "not particularly unusual. We've had times where it's been this warm and this humid before, but it is starting to get a little bit late" for these temperatures.

Warm weather will continue Monday, but be broken up by the arrival of  "what's left of Florence," late Monday, said Reynolds. The remnants of the storm will bring rain, soaking the Southern Tier and east to the Finger Lakes region.

The Buffalo metro area will get what Reynolds called "some light rain shower activity" Monday night, from a tenth of an inch to a quarter of an inch. By contrast, parts of the Southern Tier could get from one to 1 1/2 inches of rain, he said.

Temperatures are expected to fluctuate for the rest of the week, with Tuesday in the upper 70s, near 80, followed by a cooler Wednesday, with temperatures in the 70s. Then, Reynolds said, "We rebound sharply Thursday back into the low 80s."

But, he said, the warm spell won't last. "It will definitely cool off by the weekend," he said. "The high Saturday could potentially be only into the mid- to upper 60s, right around where we should be."

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