Picture-perfect pumpkins ready for picking at Methodist Church in Dayton

Aisles of pumpkins are set up behind the First United Methodist Church Education Center in Dayton for the church's first-ever pumpkin patch.

Around 3,900 pumpkins of all shapes and sizes arrived in Dayton, Texas, on Wednesday, for the first-ever pumpkin patch organized by First United Methodist Church.

The pumpkins, set up in a field behind FUMC’s Education Center, are being sold as a community outreach project. Organizer Kelsey Conner said the pumpkin patch is also an opportunity for the Church to give something back to the community.

“It’s a fun thing for the kids. We thought there was a need,” Conner said.

It’s been three years since the last pumpkin patch was set up in Dayton at a neighboring church, and Conner said it has been sorely missed by the community.

“This is our first year to do it and we are so excited,” she said.

Dayton freshmen football players and coaches, city workers, police officers and members of First United Methodist Church of Dayton pitched in to unload 3,900 pumpkins on the church lawn for its pumpkin patch.

Community volunteerism was on display Wednesday when the pumpkins arrived by truck from New Mexico. Church members used tractors, ATVs, carts and wheel barrows to transport the pumpkins to rows of wooden pallets where they will be displayed and sold. The Dayton freshman football team, practicing at the football field next door, saw the pumpkins being unloaded and walked over to help, still dressed in their football uniforms and pads. Employees from the Dayton Police Department, Dayton Fire Department and Dayton Public Works helped as did Boy Scouts and National Honor Society students.

The pumpkins will range in price from $1 for petite pumpkins to $20 for bigger pumpkins and “Fairytale” pumpkins. The Fairytale pumpkins are white with other colors blended in.

The Church is planning some free community events in the pumpkin patch. The first takes place this Saturday, Oct. 19, with an outdoor showing of the movie, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” The movie will start around 7 p.m. No chairs are allowed, but guests can bring blankets to sit on while they enjoy the movie.

On Sunday, Oct. 27, from 4 to 6 p.m., the Church is hosting Sunday in the Patch. Tables will be set up for people to carve or decorate their pumpkins after purchasing them. There will also be games and snacks.

A number of backgrounds and wooden cutouts have been set up around the pumpkin patch and are perfect for family photos.

The pumpkin patch was organized for the Church by Pastor Guy Williams, Kelsey Conner, Erin Duff, Bob Sanders and Chuck Meade.

The hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. First United Methodist Church of Dayton is located at 106 S Cleveland St., Dayton. For more information, call 936-258-8021.

Coach Jan Knight, wife of Liberty County Judge Jay Knight, pitches in to help haul pumpkins to the First United Methodist Church of Dayton’s pumpkin patch.

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