Woodbury Community Church manages to weave together some truly beloved things each autumn: pumpkins, kids and funding a good cause. The church, located on a picturesque piece of property at the corner of Pioneer Drive and Lake Road, turns its grounds into a festive fall pumpkin patch come mid-October. Though the pumpkins aren’t grown right there, they’re arranged in pretty rows on hay bales and rustic tables, all of which combine to make the perfect backdrop for autumnal family photo shoots. The church makes an event out of the delivery, too, calling it “the Great Unloading,” when the big trailer backs up to the lawn and 1,000 pumpkins are carted off by dozens of volunteers, in hopes of finding their forever homes. "Last year, our [truck] was scheduled to arrive on Friday evening, which happened to be the evening of the rivalry football game between East Ridge and Woodbury high schools," says associate pastor Darrin Geier. "We thought we were doomed to lose all of our volunteers, but students and parents showed up in record numbers for us. Over 50 volunteers, including many East Ridge students in their 'white out' whites and Woodbury students sporting royal blue, worked hard together."
The patch is open to the public (not just churchgoers) seven days a week during the season, and it’s all for a great cause. Geier says, "We’re excited to get the word out that this year, 100 percent of our proceeds will go right back into our community.” Geier explains that the church wants to have an impact close to home—so close, in fact, that funds from this year’s pumpkin patch will go to the schools right across the street from the church, Lake Middle School and Middleton Elementary School.
The pumpkins themselves have a backstory with heart, too. They’re grown on the Navajo Nation reservation in New Mexico, where nearly 100 percent of the workforce is Native American. According to Woodbury Community Church, the pumpkin project creates around 25 full-time jobs and 600 seasonal jobs for folks in that part of New Mexico, where the unemployment rate is over 40 percent. (The beloved orange orbs are non-GMO, too.)
The patch also offers a selection of decorative gourds, mini pumpkins and pie pumpkins.
Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sundays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Weekdays 11 a.m.-7 p.m.