Harlingen Pumpkin Patch returns in full fall colordfwnewsa | October 12, 2023 | 1 | East Texas News , South Texas News
HARLINGEN — There is the laughing and shouting and the exploding of things like audible fireworks, the refreshing celebrations of the innocents in the fall of the year.
They delight in the novelty of the pumpkins spread across the expansive lawn at the First Methodist Church, weaving in and out of tiny houses, rushing up slides and playing tic tac toe and checkers.
“OK I got one!” says Mekai Niare, 4, as he fills a bucket with corn.
Alezzander Cruz and his brothers Cesar and Ysmael dash in and out of the small blue house, poking their heads through windows, then rushing off to the playground and up and down stairs.
“Every year we come, and I think it’s a good place to bring the kids,” says their mother Alejandra Galvan.
Parents and children and nieces and nephews pour into the First Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch at 321 E. Harrison Ave. each year to enjoy the games and the photo backgrounds and the adventure of it all. While it’s so much fun, it also raises money through pumpkin sales for the church’s charities.
“We have our backpacks for kids program that feeds food insecure children in over nine HCISD elementary schools,” said Krista Banuelos, director of communications for First Methodist Church in Harlingen.
“It helps support our Quentin Hale Memorial Scholarship for graduating seniors and college age kids in our church, and also our Journey Pre-School program,” Banuelos said.
This year’s Pumpkin Patch is off to a great start and new attractions.
“On our first two days we’ve had our biggest turnout in years,” Banuelos said. “We’re really pleased with how it’s been going.”
Perhaps the higher numbers reflect the new attractions.
“We have a lot more special activities lined up on our event calendar,” she said. “We have a greater variety of different photo backdrops than we’ve had in the past.”
At the Pumpkin Patch, children and parents and aunts and uncles take special joy in the photo backdrops. They poke their heads through the cutouts of Charlie Brown and other Peanuts characters. They sit on hay bales in front of a red barn and get their photos taken with small scarecrows.
Perla Flores appreciates the extra photo backgrounds.
“They have a lot of them,” she says, then looking over them all, counts, “One, two, three, four. There’s no more waiting.”
Perla has brought her children and members of her extended family to the Pumpkin Patch. The Harlingen native has always enjoyed Pumpkin Patch when she’s in the area. Her husband is in the military, and they’ve been stationed in Colorado for three years, but she happened to be here this week and couldn’t miss the Pumpkin Patch.
“It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s a tradition,” Perla says.
Her daughter Kiara Guerrero, 12, agrees.
“I like what they do right here,” she says, pointing to a large cross made of pumpkins spread across the center of the patch. The detail of the cross indicates long hours of planning and meticulous labor, placing small white pumpkins next to each other in the cross’s center, and then more rows of large orange pumpkins along the perimeter.
“I also like the swans,” she says as she points to a new attraction, a row of green squash shaped like swans placed along a row of hay bales.
She also appreciates the paper messages about Jesus and the wooden cross on the fence facing the street with a wreath of fall colors and pale pumpkins.
“I get to spend time with my family and my little cousins,” Kiara adds.
Everyone seems to have a joyous day. Mekai’s mother Stephanie Niare, of Georgia, looks on with delight as he revels in his success with the bean bag toss and other games.
“I think he’s liking it,” she says.
And so he is. And all the others on this fall afternoon.
Pumpkin Patch is open weekdays 10 a.m. to noon and then from 4 to 8 p.m.
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