Fall has arrived, and it’s time to pick a pumpkin.
The Richmond Hill Garden Club is sponsoring the 15th Pumpkin Patch event from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at the J.F. Gregory Park pavilion. Admission is free.
The event will feature games for $1 each, including a fish pond, a bean-bag toss, a pumpkin toss, ring the pumpkin and two new games — creepy feels and pumpkin “Wheel of Fortune.” According to Garden Club Vice President Gloria Shearin, each player wins a prize during the games.
Face painting will be available for $1-$3, depending on the complexity of the design. The Pumpkin Fairy will carry her magic wand while handing out lollipops to children and posing for photos. There will be a variety of photo-backdrop stations and fall-themed props to accentuate family pictures.
“Be sure to bring your camera to capture a moment with hay bales, cornstalks, scarecrows and pumpkins,” Shearin said. “All of these, along with many other indoor and outdoor decorative items, will be for sale. You’ll find wreaths, signs, baskets, centerpieces — anything you need for decorating your home and yard, all at reasonable prices.”
Garden club craft items, including the Spider on a Stick, will also be featured during the event. There will be many large and small pumpkins for sale, as well as white pumpkins this year.
“Last year, we sold 300 mini pumpkins and 200 large ones,” Pumpkin patch committee chairwoman Terry Luth said. “I love watching the toddlers choose their own little pumpkins and carry them around like treasures. The pumpkins are often dropped, but since they don’t have far to fall, they are scooped back up with no problem. Many children come in costume and are so cute to see. This is a very family friendly event.”
The Garden Club’s Green Thumb Kids Project will be distributing a variety of free plants to children — for growing inside or outside, depending on the plant chosen. Youth will be able to choose a plant to take home and nurture. Garden club members will be available for planting and gardening advice.
“After playing games, taking pictures and having your face painted, you’ll find a huge array of homemade goodies to enjoy,” Shearin said. “Garden Club members outdo themselves, baking pumpkin cookies and muffins, apple cakes, brownies and all sorts of Halloween-themed nibbles. Food items are $1 and may be purchased with either a ticket or cash.”
Luth said the pumpkin-patch event has grown over the years and she expects the trend to continue.
“In 2013, the club added a new game and a plant giveaway,” Luth said. “This year, we have two new games, an expanded décor and crafts section and a green thumb kids booth, which will give away free plants and information to introduce kids to plants, gardening and nature.”
Based on the sales of pumpkins and mums last year, Luth said the event had more than 500 families attend. This year, the committee expects an increase in attendance.
“The Pumpkin Patch is the garden club’s annual fundraiser that allows the club to complete its many community projects,” Shearin said. “These projects include maintaining landscaping at its garden in Henderson Park, the library and other spots in town; distributing daffodil bulbs during the Christmas parade; purchasing books for the Richmond Hill Library and providing a $1,000 scholarship for a deserving senior at Richmond Hill High School.”
The Richmond Hill Garden Club has 51 members and is open to anyone interested in gardening or the environment.
“The garden club began in 1955 when a group of ladies got together to find ways to beautify Richmond Hill,” Garden Club President Jan Davis said. “An original member, Frances Meeks, is still a member of the club today.”
The group meets monthly, September through June, on the second Wednesday of each month. The meetings take place at 10 a.m. at the John W. Stevens Wetlands Education Center.