As fall arrives, the preparations of the season start with a brand-new pumpkin. In Huntsville, locals know the fall season is accompanied by the First United Methodist Church’s annual pumpkin patch. For at least 20 years, the FUMC hosts the annual pumpkin patch in their church courtyard with the goal of raising money to support their youth ministry and the community, FUMC Director of Youth Ministries Kelsey Houser said.
The funds raised at the pumpkin patch traditionally go toward scholarships for the youth members to attend church camps or mission trips. Last year all mission trips had to be canceled due to COVID-19, so instead they used the funds to build a wheelchair ramp for a citizen in the community at no charge.
“We are hoping that the proceeds of this year will go towards scholarships for students to go outside the community next summer,” Houser said.
Due to selling all the pumpkins last year, FUMC was able to create an even bigger pumpkin patch this year for citizens to enjoy.
“We’ve added new photo ops because I saw last year that’s the biggest thing that the community are looking for, just a place to enjoy taking pictures,” Houser said. “So, I mean we socially distance around the patch, but it’s almost like a little hint of normal for the year of 2020.
The pumpkin patch is free for people to enjoy and take pictures, but the church does encourage attendees to buy pumpkins, prices ranging from 50 cents to $25.
The FUMC also holds events through the pumpkin patch, including the Blessing of The Animals last Sunday. On Oct. 25, FUMC is hosting a pumpkin carving contest from 2-4 p.m. Visitors just sign up for a table for free and buy a pumpkin to carve, paint or decorate for fun and the chance of prizes.
FUMC does ask for local volunteers to come out and gain service hours by tending to the pumpkin patch.
“We definitely accept volunteers to come and just work a couple hours, you just sit and enjoy the fun environment and sell pumpkins,” Houser said.
The FUMC pumpkin patch’s hours are Monday through Friday from 3-7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. until Oct. 31.
The pumpkin patch’s location is 1016 Sam Houston Ave. next to the courthouse. For more information about the pumpkin patch, please contact Kelsey Houser at firstname.lastname@example.org.