ABOVE: Cason United Methodist Church’s annual Pumpkin Patch is Oct. 15-31 outside the church in Delray Beach. Admission is free. The festival includes a car-to-car trick-or-treating day Oct. 30. BELOW: Boca Raton will have a Pumpkin Patch Festival at Mizner Park. Tickets must be purchased in advance for the Oct. 15-16 festival. Photos provided
Any day now, a tractor trailer filled with around 4,000 pumpkins will make its way from New Mexico to Cason United Methodist Church in Delray Beach for the annual Pumpkin Patch, which, after 26 years, is one of the church’s signature events.
“A lot of Methodist churches do pumpkin patches. It’s a fun family event,” organizer Sharon Bebout said.
She enjoys working the event, which requires a village of volunteers to pull off.
Tricia Schmidt, pastor David Schmidt’s wife, has been ordering the pumpkins from the same company for the last few years. Instead of paying for the orange orbs outright, the church pays a commission on their sales in November when all the figures are in. “Everybody makes money,” Schmidt said.
At the patch, pumpkin prices are determined by tape measure. After the church pays the grower, the rest of the proceeds from the event benefit Cason UMC’s mission and outreach programs.
From minis to monsters, you’ll find a plethora of pumpkins. Some are picture-perfect while others are strangely shaped and colored. You’ll also find vibrant green and gold gourds. With prices beginning at $1, there’s a little burst of fall color for everyone.
“For some people, the uglier the pumpkin, the better,” Bebout said.
The pumpkin patch is open every day for about two weeks, thanks to the volunteers, which makes it convenient for busy families. This year’s dates are Oct. 15-31.
“It’s become a tradition for some families,” Tricia Schmidt said. They take photographs of their kids in costume in the same place each year, she said. “We have a Cinderella’s carriage the kids love to climb on that’s perfect for photos.” Especially if your kid wants to dress up as a princess or a prince.
It’s a lively time at Cason, which is planning two special events to go with the Pumpkin Patch:
The Family Fun Fest takes place from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 22. This features crafts, story time, a fire truck and free ice cream. Come in costume. Everyone is welcomed and admission is free.
Trunk or Treat, an alternative to the door-to-door Halloween hunt for candy, takes place in the parking lot from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Oct. 30. Costumed kids go car-to-car to beg treats from the decorated trunks. Admission is free. Get a commemorative photo from Marco Photo Co. for an additional charge.
Once the Pumpkin Patch is over, “the leftover pumpkins get donated to zoos and pig farms for the animals to eat,” Bebout said.
Bebout is happy that Cason UMC is known for a great family event that brings hundreds of people to the church each year. “It’s truly a combined effort of love.”
Boca pumpkin festival
Plan for fall — and fun — to arrive in Boca Raton on Oct. 15 and 16 when the Boca Raton Pumpkin Patch Festival takes place in Mizner Park Amphitheater. This family friendly event features carnival rides, a pumpkin food court and fun for Halloween fans of all ages.
• Pumpkins! With thousands to choose from, your personal favorite is waiting. The festival has specialty pumpkins too, like white orbs and the popular blue Cinderella pumpkin. Look for tiny pumpkins plus squashes and gourds of all sizes.
• Carnival rides: Kids older than 3 get a wristband for unlimited rides with admission. For the little kids, there are kiddie roller coasters and bumper cars.
• Fall photo vignettes: Capture a memory to share. You can photograph the family for your Halloween cards with plenty of time to share them before Halloween.
• Scarecrow Village: The scarecrows need to dress up in crazy outfits that will scare off the crows and they need your help.
• The cornstalk maze: This twisty, 10-foot-tall challenge is perfect for the little ones.
• Pumpkin decorating kits: Your family Picasso’s time to shine. Decorate your gourd on site or take the kit home ($3). Pumpkins must be purchased separately.
• The Pumpkin Food Court and Pumpkin Beer Bars: Refresh yourself between activities with sweet and savory pumpkin treats along with fair food favorites. Adults can sip pumpkin brews from Sam Adams and Angry Orchard.
If You Go
What: 27th annual Pumpkin Patch
When: Noon-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 15-31
Where: Cason United Methodist Church, 342 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
Info: www.casonumc.org or 561-276-5302
What: Boca Raton Pumpkin Patch Festival
Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15-16.
Admission: $25 for age 3 and older, includes a wristband for unlimited carnival rides and access to all attractions. Infants and toddlers younger than age 3 are admitted free.
Tickets/info: All tickets must be purchased in advance. No tickets at the gate. www.bocapumpkinpatch.com