The Pumpkin Patch at San Gabriel Presbyterian Church has become a much-anticipated event celebrating not just the harvest season, but also plenty of Georgetown community interaction.
Each Fall, the church receives enough pumpkins to fill an 18-wheeler, and church members are joined by Scout organizations in the east field of the church grounds to unload them. If you are intrigued, you are invited to watch or help on October 5 after the 10am arrival. People aged 5 to 80 kick off this day of service with a coordinated unloading event. Within an hour or two, several thousand pumpkins are ready for sale, and folks from all over Georgetown are laughing and talking together over a hot dog lunch.
The pumpkins are grown on and support the Navajo Reservation in Farmington, Texas. They are purchased via Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers and are on sale throughout October. Proceeds not paid to the Navajo are given to participating Scout groups who help manage the Pumpkin Patch, and back to the church to help facilitate additional family-friendly, public events at no cost.
The church has the process down to a science. When Halloween has come and gone, nothing will have gone to waste. The church has events for every age group throughout October; kids’ story time in the Patch to batting practice for teens when the fruit gets soft. Any leftovers are given to local farmers to feed livestock.
All month long they will host field trips from schools and daycares and, for the first time this year, senior care groups. There will be two public story times for non-school-age children; October 11 and 25 from 9:30-11am. Child care providers and home school families are also welcome to schedule a special event by calling the church’s main number—
enjoy story time, the playground and pumpkin patch, and each child receives a free mini pumpkin to take home.
Family Fun Day
Although the Pumpkin Patch began as an outreach event for the church itself, it is now evolved into an exciting Family Fun Day, coordinated by Family Ministries Director, Toni Howell. Annually, as many as 1500 people from all over Travis and Williamson County enjoy many activities from Camp Peniel in Marble Falls; hay and pony rides, face painting, storytime, archery, pumpkin painting and more. Except for food trucks (guests are welcome to bring their own picnic lunches) and pumpkins, everything is free. Visitors are also invited to come in costume!
Church elder Phil Lacy says, “The pumpkin patch and family day is our anchor event for community outreach and we build our visibility on it. It is an opportunity to meet the greater Georgetown community. It is free and we’re right here in town. We love to show folks who we are and if they decide to come back on a Sunday, we are thrilled to have them.”
Phil adds, “The pumpkin patch is very family oriented and we have many families with kids. It is our hope that as Georgetown continues to grow, we will welcome young families looking for a great church for fellowship and service.”
Family fun day is Columbus Day (October 14) from 10-2 • GISD is on a 4-day weekend
This event is especially attractive to families with school-aged children.
San Gabriel Presbyterian Church hosts five scouting groups, each meeting in the building on various days of the week. Ginger Mann, Service Coordinator for Pack 2338, provides every scout who helps at the Pumpkin Patch—unloading, staffing events, or sales—with a three-inch Pumpkin Patch award and a nice shout-out from the church. “For Scouts, we help the church throughout the year and discovered recognition of merit was a huge incentive. The Scouts help with many projects throughout the year but the pumpkin patch stands out. The congregation is very attached to and grateful for all of our scout programs; Girls, Boys, Sea and Cubs.”
Phil sums it all up; “We are eager to be a community partner. You don’t just open your doors Sunday morning and have people walk in. We invite folks to come and enjoy a great day and a good experience, and when they look for a church or have a spiritual need, maybe they remember where they felt welcome.”