Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Church Preps Its Pumpkin Patch for Season Full of Visitors; Popular Patch Can Sell 20,000 Pumpkins and Gourds Annually

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Church Preps Its Pumpkin Patch for Season Full of Visitors; Popular Patch Can Sell 20,000 Pumpkins and Gourds Annually

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

The great pumpkin arrived in Mandarin last week.

So did the medium-sized pumpkin.

And the miniature pumpkin, with more expected throughout October.

Indeed, there are thousands of the vivid orange gourds artfully arranged among scarecrows in a giant pumpkin patch at Mandarin United Methodist Church, 11270 San Jose Blvd. It's a setting to make the Peanuts gang envious.

The 22nd annual patch, which is lit at night, is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day through Saturday, Oct. 30. It will be open until 6 p.m. or so on Sunday, Oct. 31.

It's one of the biggest in Jacksonville with as many as 22,000 pumpkins and gourds sold annually, church officials said.

The festivities include a story time that's expected to attract 1,200 preschoolers. Volunteers will read books ranging from the Christian-oriented "The Pumpkin Patch Parable" to "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything."

"We stay away from witches, goblins and ghosts," said Linda Hurley, field trip preschool coordinator.

Children receive a guided tour and are sent home with lollipops, stickers and coloring pages, she said. Those who would like to place their child or group on the schedule should call the church at 268-5549.

Of course, you can visit the pumpkin patch store and find items ranging from 75 cents for a gourd to $30 for a hefty pumpkin. There also are bottleneck swan, winged and other types of novelty gourds. Don't want orange? They also come in yellow and green.

Bales of hay go for $10 while a bag sells for 75 cents. There are even face stickers to put on pumpkins if your carving skills are on the slippery side. A cookbook offering carving decorating tips, instructions on drying a gourd to make a birdhouse, and recipes for pumpkin pies, cakes and frying or baking seeds is available for $5.

There are plenty of special display areas where parents can bring their cameras and snap their children's pictures. Hurley, who is in charge of decorations, said one area features scarecrows, pumpkins, bales of hay and a wagon with a chair in front that a church member built.

The patch, which is enclosed, also includes a picnic area with a playground and a preschoolers' play area that boasts a pumpkin carriage with wheels, a couple of large wooden rocking horses and cutouts of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.