The Richmond Hill Garden Club hosted its annual Pumpkin Patch at J.F. Gregory Park Saturday, converting the park’s pavilion into a festive fall favorite for the 17th year in a row.
“It’s really fun,” said Gloria Shearin, president of the club for the past two years. “I think the members enjoy it as much as the kids and parents who come.”
The Pumpkin Patch was created as the main fundraiser for the Garden Club. The money that’s raised each year is used to keep the Club’s many community projects alive: maintaining the landscaping at its gardens around town (including one at Henderson Park), giving out daffodil bulbs during the Christmas Parade, purchasing books for the Richmond Hill Public Library, donating to local charities (such as the Way Station food pantry) and gifting a $1,000 scholarship each year to a senior at Richmond Hill High School.
The number of families that come out to the annual event increases each year.
“When I became a member of the Garden Club, we didn’t use the whole pavilion,” Shearin said. “We had only the first four or five stalls, and now we use the entire pavilion.”
While Saturday’s weather was beautiful, Shearin said there were just as many people who came out last year in the rain, if not more.
Families even make the trip from nearby towns to enjoy the Garden Club’s hard work.
“The kids think it’s magical,” Shearin said. “They’re out here picking their pumpkins, and it has to be that pumpkin no matter what. They come in costumes; it’s so exciting! It becomes a tradition, too. Some come every year from little ones to kids that are 10 years old.”
The middle of the pavilion was converted into a strip of pumpkin patch, with pine straw covered in mini pumpkins and bundles of flowers.
On each end of the strip were bales of pine straw outfitted with giant scarecrows and more pumpkins for photo opportunities. Almost every stall of the pavilion was in use with a member of the Garden Club either selling their homemade fall décor, supervising games, giving out food, or helping children pick out a free plant from their Green Thumb Kids program.
“It’s an experience that you can’t get anywhere else,” said Shearin.