More than 1,000 pumpkins arrived at the Church at Agape Outpost near Breckenridge on Monday. Shipped in from New Mexico, they reached their mountain destination in the middle of a snowstorm, causing organizers of the church’s pumpkin patch to re-think the layout of their fall festival and move it indoors.
Walking into the church on Saturday, guests saw row upon row of bright orange pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. Children dashed into the fray, crawling onto the pumpkins, running their hands over the bumpy sides. They claimed their favorites, and brought smaller gourds to their parents in armfuls.
Associate pastor Jeremy Frye said the church had brought in about 472 large pumpkins as well as more than 1,000 smaller pumpkins and decorative gourds. The smaller pumpkins are ideal for freezing and cooking, he said, and there are plenty to go around.
Proceeds from the pumpkin sales are going to support various child-related missions with worldwide reaches. The beneficiaries include Fields of the Fatherless (support for orphans in Uruguay), Miracle House (support for orphans in Kenya), Seven Sisters International (support for female victims of child sex trafficking in northeastern India) and Food 4 Kids (support for orphans in Honduras, led by Summit County local Gideon Cooper).
“We just wanted it to be a way to reach out and connect with our community and bless some ministries around the world that work with children,” said Frye, whose wife, Rachel, Agape Outpost’s children’s minister, also helped put the fall festival event together.
In addition to the pumpkin patch, Saturday’s fall festival included free hayrides, live music, a pie-baking contest, chili cook-off, crafts for children and free snacks. The atmosphere was certainly festive, with smiling parents and children squealing in delight, whether over their first hay ride, their favorite pumpkin or their glitter-encrusted craft projects.
“We wanted to go someplace with a pumpkin patch, but everything was too far away,” said Silverthorne resident Beth Partin, who was at the festival with her children Owen, 5, and Stella, 3, both dressed as pirates. “This is much more our speed.”
The pumpkin patch will be available until Oct. 31, Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with free hot cider and cookies, caramel apples and popcorn balls.
Groups interested in setting up a field trip for preschoolers, with story time and crafts, should contact Carolyn Atkinson at (970) 485-2787.