After 2-year haitus, church brings back popular pumpkin patchAfter 2-year haitus, church brings back popular pumpkin patchAfter 2-year haitus, church brings back popular pumpkin patch | community
Following the stringent pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, and after two years of being on hiatus, a Fort Bend fall favorite — the Holy Cross Pumpkin Patch — returns this month. Admission is free.
“Holy Cross is very excited as are our neighbors, many of whom have children who have grown up attending the Patch every fall for years,” said the Rev. Scott Thompson of Holy Cross Episcopal Church.
The pumpkin patch is such a popular local fall event that the church is often referred to as “The Pumpkin Patch Church,” Thompson said.
In a way, the patch signals the season. As the opening day approaches, the weather is cooler accompanied by a chilled wind, and those jackets stuffed in the rear of closets find their way to the forefront.
“It feels like fall,” Thompson said. “And at the patch, it certainly looks like fall.”
The 14th annual Holy Cross Pumpkin Patch will run for three weekends on Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30 at the church at 5653 West Riverpark Drive in Sugar Land. The Patch is open from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturdays (Oct. 15, 22 and 29) and noon to 6 pm on Sundays (Oct. 16, 23 and 30).
Known as the largest pumpkin patch in Fort Bend County, the Holy Cross Pumpkin Patch’s origins began in 2007 and continued every year except in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the pause is over, and the pumpkins are returning to the anticipation of the church and surrounding community.
“Unloading day marks the official beginning of the patch,” said Thompson enthusiastically. “Around noon on Sunday, Oct 9 a semitrailer full of pumpkins will pull up to the church and scores of church members, friends, and student volunteers from the local high schools will work together in long lines, passing the pumpkins to each other until the truck is empty and all the pumpkins are placed onto wooden pallets that were positioned all around the big tent the day before.
The pumpkins featured at the Patch are supplied by Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers and are grown and harvested by members of the Navajo Nation in Farmington, New Mexico.
Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers grows 25 varieties of non-GMO pumpkins and uses sustainable agricultural practices such as crop rotation, covering crops, and soil-mapping technology.
“We receive a wide variety of pumpkins,” Thompson said. “Sizes vary from pumpkins that will fit into the palm of your hand to pumpkins you can barely get your arms around. And they are beautiful. The best looking pumpkins I’ve ever seen!”
The Holy Cross Pumpkin Patch features orange, green, white, and variegated pumpkins, and with varying textures ranging from “smooth to bumpy and everything in between.”
Pumpkins at the 14th annual Holy Cross Pumpkin Patch are priced by size.
“Guests find their favorite pumpkin, come to the pricing table, and compare their pumpkin to the pumpkin standards each of which are marked with a price according to size,” Thompson explained.
The pumpkins, he further explained, are sold on a consignment basis.
“What Holy Cross gets to keep from pumpkin sales goes toward our annual ministry budget. In addition, all concession proceeds are tithed 10 percent by the church ministries that run them, and that 10 percent is sent both locally and internationally to outside charitable organizations. “Many people benefit from sales made at the Pumpkin Patch.”
‘IT’S AN EXPERIENCE’
The Holy Cross Pumpkin Patch is more than a location to pick the perfect pumpkin, though. Aside from the pumpkins, patrons can enjoy the hayride, the bounce house, playground, photo booth, children’s maze, glitter tattoos, and pumpkin decorating.
And during the second weekend (Oct. 22-23) a silent auction will be held while professional sports memorabilia will also be on sale.
The Pumpkin Patch will also feature live entertainment like music, local dance groups, and martial arts under the big tent, as well as a variety of eats, including smoked brisket, pulled pork, sausage on a stick, hot dogs, nachos, cotton candy , popcorn, snow cones, and baked goods.
There will be plenty of photo opportunities, too.
“Beside the youth-sponsored photo booth, the whole patch, with pumpkins all around, is a wonderful fall setting for photo shoots,” he said, adding that families, including those with multiple generations, visit the patch as a carefree outing. “Couples, families, and friends, some with pets, others in costumes, make their annual fall memories at the Patch.”
“The most enjoyable thing about the Patch is the people. The people of Holy Cross spend several months planning and preparing and then run the patch. Students from 17 area high schools are invited and serve as volunteers. And then there are all our guests from Riverpark, New Territory, Greatwood, and the surrounding communities.”
“Multiple thousands attend every weekend,” he said. “It’s a total blast.”
The Pumpkin Patch, he noted, “isn’t just a place to buy a pumpkin.”
“The Patch is an event, an experience. And judging from all the smiles, it’s a very enjoyable experience.”
After 2-year haitus, Holy Cross Catholic church is bringing back its always-popular pumpkin patch.