Three area churches are preparing pumpkin patches offering a wide variety of the holiday staple for that perfect jack-o'-lantern or table centerpiece.
Marvin United Methodist Church has held its annual Corner Pumpkin Patch for nearly a decade as a fundraiser for the church's United Methodist Men's missions and projects.
"It is a huge project that takes everybody in the church to get this thing going," said the Rev. Chuck Moon, the pastor. He said the pumpkin sale gets bigger each year.
The pumpkin patch will begin Saturday at the church, at Wheeler and Belair roads. The sale, which features pumpkins of all sizes, gourds and mums, is open from 1 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday through Halloween.
On Oct. 21, Moon said, the pumpkin patch will include barbecue chicken dinners from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a country store selling yard sale-type items such as cakes, pies and crafts.
The Rev. Roger Vest, of Harlem United Methodist Church, said his church is gearing up a pumpkin patch a little earlier so pumpkins will be available to visitors to the city's annual Oliver Hardy Festival, scheduled for Saturday.
Pumpkins went on sale Sunday at the church, on Milledgeville Road in Harlem.
Vest said this is the church's third year selling pumpkins.
"We made about $3,000 or $4,000 last year, and it all goes back to our outreach ministries," Vest said. The pumpkin sale also offers a field trip destination for children, the pastor said.
In 2005, about 900 children visited the Harlem pumpkin patch as a field trip that offered them a craft, storytime, a pumpkin and a guided tour of the pumpkin patch.
Vest said 800 children already are signed up to tour the patch this month.
"We always have a fun time," Vest said.
The Harlem United Methodist pumpkin sale is generally open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday through Halloween.
Wesley United Methodist Church in Evans also is offering a place to find the perfect pumpkin, in addition to mums and pansies.
Pumpkins With a Purpose will open Oct. 14 at the church, situated on North Belair Road, and will run through Halloween.
"Our (pumpkin patch) is called Pumpkins With a Purpose because proceeds from the sale benefit the foreign mission trips," said Linda Jolley, the church office manager. The church has sent mission trips to Honduras, Africa and other locations.
The pumpkin patch is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
On Oct. 18, the pumpkin patch will turn into more of a family fun day, Jolley said. From 3 to 7 p.m., the sale will feature arts and crafts, a climbing wall, pony rides and other children's activities. Tickets cost $10 for unlimited rides, she said.
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