Pumpkin Patch: A place to bring your little pumpkins starts Saturday

October 03, 2007
Santa Paula News

They’re orange, round, and found on the ground, and the Rotary Club of Santa Paula is betting that the pumpkin will generate plenty of funds to give back to the community with the revised Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch & Harvest Festival.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThey’re orange, round, and found on the ground, and the Rotary Club of Santa Paula is betting that the pumpkin will generate plenty of funds to give back to the community with the revised Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch & Harvest Festival. The place to bring your little pumpkins will be held four weekends in October - Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. - at historic Faulkner Farm, the best place for a variety of family fun.At the Pumpkin Patch there will be big pumpkins, little pumpkins, fat pumpkins, skinny pumpkins, Indian gourds, corn and cornstalks, brightly colored and unusual varieties of squash, and more.A Ventura County tradition, the Pumpkin Patch was revised by the Rotary Club in cooperation with the Hansen Agricultural Trust, which now owns the sprawling property that contains the picturesque Queen Anne Faulkner House built in 1894. The Faulkner House, located at the intersection of Briggs and Telegraph Roads, is Ventura County Historical Landmark #1 and on the National Register of Historic Places.Rotarian Otto Schimmel, chairman of the Pumpkin Patch, said that nostalgia is a prime attraction. “I think good old-fashioned country fun, a day at the farm” is what attracts many visitors.“A day in the country, living past experiences, and reliving dreams of going to the farm” are strong lures that Schimmel said are impossible to resist. “Some people have lived that farm life or yearned for it, they want to experience it, it’s a happy feeling that kind of pulls you out of the rat race” into a relaxed atmosphere where “you can breath the air and feel the sun.”
And, Schimmel added, the Pumpkin Patch is even more, with its fall harvest and Halloween themes, a petting zoo and, “if all goes well, a pony ride and rides on a small gauge train and hay rides.” There will be face-painting, a hay pyramid, sunflower forest, music and entertainment, as well as dance groups and plenty of food vendors offering everything from country chicken sandwiches to corn on the cob and pie slices... or take a whole pie home. Ice cream, caramel apples, homemade berry juice and hot coffee will also refresh those attending the Pumpkin Patch.Rotarians have been working on the event for months, and have put in “too many hours to count and not enough to worry about... it’s definitely a labor of love for me.” And that love is shared: the Future Farmers of America, 4-H clubs, the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley, Scouts and Soroptimist International of Santa Paula, among others, have offered volunteer support to the Pumpkin Patch.Schimmel said that, aside from the challenge and satisfaction of staging the family-focused Pumpkin Patch, “I think what brings Rotary the most satisfaction is the good it will do for the community” through the gifting of the funds raised.The Santa Paula Rotary Club spearheads the annual Christmas Basket Program that brings holiday cheer to more than 400 needy families, awards scholarships, provides Christmas stockings to convalescent home residents, and ongoing financial support to various school groups, teams and activities. The club also helps support projects - Polio Plus is a worldwide effort to eradicate the disease - and programs through Rotary International.With the Pumpkin Patch kicking off this weekend, Schimmel is watching the weather. “It could rain, which would be a great thing, we need it, but not so good for the Pumpkin Patch,” a worry he admits is not likely to be realized in current drought conditions.The Pumpkin Patch is serving double duty as the after-hours venue for the annual Ghost Walk to benefit the Santa Paula Theater Center, which Schimmel said could benefit both fundraisers. “I couldn’t think of a better place for Ghost Walk.... People might visit one or the other and decide to come back” to experience the other attraction. “I think we complement each other well,” noted Schimmel.



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