For 17 years now, everyone in North Augusta has known the best way to tell that fall is here is to look for the familiar sign of pumpkins lining the yard at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Martintown Road. Whether it is traditional orange pumpkins, the white or green variety, or a gourd you are looking for, they have it.
Mike Osteen and Joye McCurry, who are co-chairing this year’s pumpkin patch, said they receive the pumpkins from Navajo Indians in New Mexico.
“We don’t know exactly how many of each kind we are going to get,’’ Osteen said. ‘‘They are putting the pumpkins on conveyer belts that load them on the trucks for shipment, but we get around 3,000 pumpkins each year.’’
That may seem like a lot of pumpkins but they traditionally sell out and even receive a secondary shipment in the middle of the month if needed, Osteen said.
The proceeds from the pumpkin sales fund missions, whether it is foreign missions such as a missionary in Ecuador that the church helps or a more local mission. No matter where the money goes, it is put to good use, as are the pumpkins.
Families have been coming to the Pumpkin Patch for the whole seventeen years, first bringing their children and now their grandchildren to the patch. If you live in North Augusta, chances are you have a picture or two in your house that was taken there.
The church not only opens the sale to individuals but also to school groups, playing host to many pre-school and school-age children. Story time is held before the children pay $1 to pick out their very own smaller pumpkin, just right for their little hands. Church member Mary Beth Cooper, who has her own photography business, also sets up a spot to take scheduled portraits at the patch. Whenever the area is not in use by Cooper, families can use it for their own photo session.
Pumpkins will be delivered Sunday, with opening day Monday, and it will be open through Oct. 30. The hours have changed this year. It is open Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m.
The grand opening will be held on Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and there will be hotdogs and bottled water.
Pumpkins range from $1 to $20, depending on size and type.
This is the time of year, with the leaves changing, the days getting shorter and cooler, and seeing those familiar pumpkins that make you happy, for the fall and everything that it brings.
St. Bartholomew is located at 471 W. Martintown Road.