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Aurora Jacobson, 3, of Oak Lawn, shows off her pumpkin pick at the First United Methodist Church's Pumpkin Patch at the church, 100th Street and Central Avenue, Oak Lawn. (Photos by Kelly White)

Aurora Jacobson, 3, of Oak Lawn, shows off her pumpkin pick at the First United Methodist Church's Pumpkin Patch at the church, 100th Street and Central Avenue, Oak Lawn. (Photos by Kelly White)

Pumpkin Patch Church an Oak Lawn tradition

By Kelly White

Creating a feel for the fall season is First United Methodist Church in Oak Lawn.

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

“We come here every year and we absolutely love it,” Savanah Aguilar, of Mt. Greenwood, said. “We’ve been coming here even before we had kids. It’s the perfect small pumpkin patch and close to home.”

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Katie Gibson, of Beverly, and her children, Mila, 1, and Joe, 3, attended First United Methodist Church’s Pumpkin Patch, 100th Street and Central Avenue, Oak Lawn.

Admission is free and as Aguilar said, 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.

Not only are there pumpkins, there is also something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Highlighting the event this year are a huge Halloween and Christmas décor tent, showcasing plenty of craft items 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.

“There are plenty of great photo opportunities,” Bonnie Bergman, Communications Specialist at First United Methodist Church, said.

And, attendees agreed.

“This pumpkin patch is so cute,” Jessica White, of Tinley Park, said who attended with her nieces. “I will definitely be back again next year.”

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.

“We try really hard to be family friendly and connect with the community,” Marty Linderborg, Lay Leader at Frist United Methodist Church, said.

Linderborg said one year a wedding party happened to be driving along Central Avenue, saw the pumpkin patch and stopped.

“They were so excited and asked if they could take some wedding photos here,” Linderborg said. “That’s exactly what we love. Being here and being a part of the community.”

The 2,500 pumpkins at the patch were provided by Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers, commonly called Pumpkins U.S.A.

Since 1974, Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers assists in providing pumpkins to more than 1,000 organizations covering the Continental United States, representing 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 Saturday, October 9, under the guidance of the program’s leaders, CPO Dennis Reynolds and CDR Doug Groters.

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Mila Schweikert, 3, of Palos Heights, and her sister, Emerson, 4, at First United Methodist Church’s Pumpkin Patch, 100th Street and Central Avenue, Oak Lawn.

“It felt really good to be back out in the community working with these kids,” Reynolds said. “It was hard work but they did an amazing job despite the sore and tired muscles by the time it was over.”

Mandates and CDC Guidelines will be followed at the pumpkin patch through the Halloween holiday and everyone in attendance is asked to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

For more info, check out First United Methodist Church on Facebook or call 708-423-1170.

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