YesterLand Farm is a throwback to classic family adventures.
Story by Andrea Agardy
Kama and Chuck Bozeman are old souls. When they were rebranding their business into an “agritainment venue,” they got a little nostalgic about the fun family outings of their youth. As they reminisced about cotton candy and carousels, YesterLand Farm emerged as their venture’s new name. “People want to take their children to experience what they experienced as a child — things that they enjoyed doing,” Kama Bozeman says. “We want to be that kind of a place. We like good old-fashioned fun!”
A NEW LIFE WITH A NOD TO THE PAST
Self-described city slickers who grew weary of the hustle and bustle of life in Dallas, the couple bought 32 acres in Canton in 1994, planted some evergreen trees and opened the Canton Christmas Tree Farm. “My husband was a firefighter in the Dallas Metroplex for almost 22 years, and I was a medical administrator. So this was a total change,” Bozeman says. Over time, the operation grew in size and scope — it now encompasses 72 acres. After several years selling trees, the couple decided to expand beyond the Yuletide season. “In 2005, we started our fall festival. People could come out and buy pumpkins, cornstalks and mums, get some food, see the farm animals, that kind of thing,” Bozeman recalls. “It was very small and very quaint.” They added amusement rides a few years later, and soon the fall festival was drawing more visitors than the Christmas tree farm, prompting the Bozemans to tweak their business model and launch YesterLand Farm.
FALL FUN ON THE FARM
The attractions change from season to season, and this September, a new event will bloom. “We are planting a sunflower field, and it’s going to be September Sunflowers,” Bozeman says. “We’re planning on the last two weekends in September.” After the sunflowers comes the farm’s annual crowd-pleaser, the fall festival. Visitors can choose their perfect jack-o’-lantern-to-be from the pumpkin patch and meet some four-legged friends in Animal Town. The Candy Cannon will shower guests in sweet treats, and vintage rides will provide the thrills. Fireworks will light up the sky every Saturday night in October.
Guests can take comfort in knowing that YesterLand Farm enacted measures to help keep everyone healthy in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Attractions have been spread out to encourage social distancing, guests are welcome to wear masks if they choose, more hand-washing stations have been set up, and hand sanitizer is available at every ride. “I believe that we can be safe and have fun at the same time,” Bozeman says. “I don’t believe they have to be mutually exclusive.”
Looking for Halloween festivities that won’t give the little ones nightmares? Spooktacular Nights at YesterLand Farm is just the thing. “Spooktacular Nights is no blood, no guts, no gore. It is very family friendly,” Bozeman says. “Nobody’s going to bring their kid out here and go, ‘Oh! They should have never seen that!’” The eerie agenda includes tractor-drawn wagon rides through the woods, Chuckles’ Funhouse, a creepy corn maze, zombie paintball and more.
NO ONE GOES HOME HUNGRY
YesterLand Farm offers guests a diverse array of food concessions. The Dog House serves hand-dipped corn dogs, hot dogs and chili cheese fries. The Hog Wild Grill offers slow-smoked barbecue, baked potatoes, funnel cakes and individual pizzas. Guests can wet their whistles with fresh-squeezed lemonade or swing by the Sasparilla Saloon for an old-fashioned soda before visiting the Candy Cabin for some homemade fudge.
SPENDING QUALITY TIME TOGETHER
Bozeman is pleased YesterLand Farm is a destination for spending time with family and friends. To encourage people to make the most of their time together, the farm rents campfires — private areas where families and other groups can spend a few hours swapping stories and sharing a meal. “They can bring in their own ice chest, hot dogs and s’mores stuff, and they can have a little designated area that’s reserved just for them,” Bozeman says. “It comes with a couple of picnic tables. We start the fire for them in raised fire pits. My husband being a retired firefighter, he doesn’t even let me burn candles in the house. So to have an open fire somewhere, he is very conscientious about safety.”
IT’S A TEAM EFFORT
On a busy fall day, YesterLand Farm needs about 110 staff members on-site to operate efficiently, which means Bozeman needs about 140 employees on her roster to ensure adequate staffing. Many of the farm’s workers are area high school students earning their first paychecks. “I’m a lot of kiddos’ first job,” Bozeman says. “Honestly, I take that pretty seriously because your first job, I think, is very important. That’s a big opportunity to teach what good customer service looks like, what good work ethic looks like and about meeting and exceeding expectations. “I think it’s a great first job,” she says. “We get a lot of them who want to come back year after year to work. We want to help our team to grow, and we hope that every day, when they leave after working at YesterLand Farm, they’re a better version of themselves. We’ve got just a phenomenal group working here.”