The Espinoza brothers, of Mount Greenwood, Conner, 3; Chase, 6; and Collin, 1, had fun at First United Methodist Church's Pumpkin Patch on October 9 at the church, 100th Street and Central Avenue, Oak Lawn. (Photos by Kelly White)

The Espinoza brothers, of Mount Greenwood, Conner, 3; Chase, 6; and Collin, 1, had fun at First United Methodist Church's Pumpkin Patch on October 9 at the church, 100th Street and Central Avenue, Oak Lawn. (Photos by Kelly White)

‘Pumpkin Patch Church’ welcomes in Halloween season

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By Kelly White

First United Methodist Church has created a small-town fall festival feel right in the heart of the Oak Lawn Community.

The church, 100th Street and Central Avenue, is having a pumpkin patch now through Halloween. It is open every weekday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and on Sundays from noon until 7 p.m.

“It’s the perfect pumpkin patch for little kids,” Melissa Espinoza, of Mount Greenwood, said. “It’s a great size and it’s safe; not overcrowded like a lot of other pumpkin patches. Here, the kids can run around and have fun.”

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Celine Rafati, 10, of Oak Lawn, and her brother, Waleen, 12, at First United Methodist Church’s Pumpkin Patch on Sunday afternoon.

Other visitors agreed.

“This is one of my favorite pumpkin patches,” Steve Szymczak, of Palos Hills, said. “It’s close to home and has a lot to offer.”

Admission is free and there is a wide selection of pumpkins available in all shapes, sizes and colors, ranging from traditional to festive seasonal colors. Prices vary depending on the size of the pumpkin.

The 4,500 pumpkins at the patch were provided by Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers, commonly called Pumpkins U.S.A.

Since 1974, Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers has assisted in providing pumpkins to more than 1,000 organizations covering the Continental United States, representing more than 25 denominations of churches and youth groups, scouts, schools, fraternal organizations, habitat groups and other civic organizations.

The pumpkins were unloaded and set up by Harold L. Richards U.S. Navy JROTC members on the weekend of October 1.

“This pumpkin patch is so cute, I will definitely be coming back again next year,” Allie White, of Palos Hills, said. “Not only are there great pumpkins, but there are plenty of photo opportunities, and you’re not fighting a crowd.”

Not only are there pumpkins, however, but there is also something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Highlighting the event once again this year is a large Halloween and Christmas décor tent, showcasing plenty of craft and seasonal items available that are available for sale.

There is also a fresh bake sale, along with a build your own scarecrow craft, children’s tractor rides, and a daily scavenger hunt.

The pumpkin patch has been taking place for more than 15 years, and church officials, along with volunteers working the pumpkin patch, said they are now not only known as First United Methodist Church but also as the ‘pumpkin patch church’ – and this is something that they take great pride in, according to Marty Linderborg, Lay Leader at Frist United Methodist Church.

“What I love most about this pumpkin patch is seeing the people come back again year after year,” Linderborg said. “It’s all about making connections with the community and building relationships with the people in our neighborhood. We see families come out and spend the entire day here. It’s wonderful.”

For more information, visit the pumpkin patch, check out First United Methodist Church on Facebook or call 708-423-1170.

 

 

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Marty Linderborg, Lay Leader at Frist United Methodist Church.takes pride in the church being known as the ‘pmpkin patch church’.

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