Pick a pumpkin, any pumpkinPublished 5:41pm Sunday, September 23, 2012
Thousands of pumpkins are waiting to be purchased and picked in the 1 1/4-acre patch behind Northside Child Development Center in Niles.
Mark Van Til, director of Niles Community Gardens, wants to see them all gone.
“I’d like to shake the hand of the guy that picks the last pumpkin,” he said.
Niles Community Gardens will be selling the pumpkins from Sept. 29 to Oct. 31, or until all pumpkins are picked. Hours are 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Sales cease on Sundays.
Eighty percent of pumpkin sale proceeds go to Niles Community Schools with the remaining 20 percent going to Niles Community Gardens.
The pumpkin sale is in its second year. Last year, Van Til said, 1,600 pumpkins were sold, generating more than $3,400 for the school district and $800 for the community gardens.
“Raising money for the school is what it is all about,” Van Til said.
Prices range from $1 to $10, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Van Til said they have a wide variety of pumpkins, from blue and white, to decorative, to extra large.
“It is a good-looking crop,” he said.
Volunteers planted 3,000 pumpkin seeds in mid-June. Volunteers, including students and members of local businesses, will help sell and haul the pumpkins for patrons.
A pumpkin carving/painting contest will be held at the pumpkin patch from 3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 26. It will consist of three age groups and prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each age group. To participate, Van Til said, bring an already carved or painted pumpkin to the patch by 4 p.m. There will be no carving at the site. Prizes will be awarded at 6:30 p.m. Van Til said he hopes to have professional carvers doing demonstrations on the day of the contest.
Van Til also said people who bring a copy of this article to the patch will receive $1 off the price of any pumpkin purchase over $6. The offer is good for one purchase per family.