The First United Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch is more than just a fundraiser; it’s an event.
Aside from raising money for the summer mission trip for the Tahlequah United Methodist Youth group, the annual pumpkin sale presents a chance for people to bring their children to play in the hay maze and take pictures, while schools make field trips to learn about the gourd.
Over 2,000 New Mexico-grown pumpkins arrived Saturday and started disappearing Sunday, said FUMC Education Ministries Director Shana Dry.
“For our first day being open without being advertised, we sold over $200, and we’re only open noon to 5 [p.m.] Sundays,” she said. “All proceeds go toward our mission trip in the summer. This destination of this summer’s trip has not been determined yet. We’re leaning toward Colorado. We went to Puerto Rico last summer. [The pumpkin patch sale] provides for the cost of the trip, and we usually range from 20 to 25 youth and adult sponsors.”
Through Wednesday, Oct. 31, pumpkins for carving or ornamental decoration can be purchased from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
“[We have pumpkins for sale in the price range from] 50 cents to $28,” said Dry, who becomes Penelope Pumpkin for the October event. “I’ve done it for so many years now that they just automatically see me and know it’s Penelope. I have a big hat that’s got a pumpkin sticking out of it.”
A pumpkin festival is slated for Saturday, Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We’re having a big Jupiter Jump, and we’re grilling hot dogs and hamburgers at a very reasonable price,” said Dry. “Really, we’re just promoting community development and community involvement. We’re going to have some games, a football toss, cake walk, a fishing pond, face-painting and tattooing.”
Tables and chairs will be up so parents can let their children play and run around and enjoy the pumpkin patch. They can buy a bracelet for $3, and they can play all day long.
“We have lots of parents who have brought their children here for years and have grown up here. They’ve taken their picture here in the pumpkins,” said Dry.
Of the 2,000-plus Land of Enchantment pumpkins, 1,030 are “big ones,” while 600 are used for the school field trips.
“We have over 500 children scheduled this year. Woodall kindergarten will be here Friday morning,” Dry said. “We have four different sessions so they’ll have a session, for instance, of getting to play in our hay maze. It’s a very unique thing the kids just absolutely love.”
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