* Cumming First UMC “Pumpkins for a Purpose” patch, 770 Canton Hwy.
Noon-7 p.m. Sunday-Friday; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; kids’ storytime is 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday-Thursday
* Kinsey Family Farms, 7170 Jot Em Down Road
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
* Warbington Farms, 5555 Crow Road
11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday
Forsyth County pumpkin patches are fully stocked and ready for the season.
But for businesses and charitable organizations that sell the orange orbs, it’s about much more than just jack-o-lanterns. The patches provide a wide range activities and products to keep kids of all ages entertained.
Andy Kinsey, one of the owners of Kinsey Family Farm on Jot Em Down Road in north Forsyth, said his business has been selling pumpkins for about nine years.
“I am loving it this year,” he said of the season. “It’s a lot of work, but we’ve got our system down pat now, and it’s just been fun.”
While the family tried its hand at growing pumpkins for a few years, he said, they have them shipped in now from other states, where different climates produce different types.
“These are all Michigan pumpkins,” he said. “They’re much thicker than Southern pumpkins, so they tend to get a deeper orange color to them and they last a good bit longer.”
Similarly, Cumming First United Methodist Church, which again is offering its Pumpkins for a Purpose patch on the church’s lawn, has them shipped in.
Neida Streit, a church spokeswoman, said this year the patch likely will have about 3,000 pumpkins delivered from farms in Greensboro, N.C.
“The pumpkins range in size from tiny to gigantic,” she said.
Kinsey wasn’t sure exactly how many pumpkins his family’s farm would have delivered throughout the season, but said probably “thousands and thousands.”
Like the church patch, the Kinsey farm also offers pumpkins in all different sizes and colors, as well as other fall-themed items such as lumpy, multi-colored gourds and dried popcorn. There are also plenty of items such as jams, jellies and homemade baked goods from Georgia producers.
“We’ve got a lot of good, small, local businesses we’re helping out, so that’s a great thing,” Kinsey said.
Families can also enjoy hay rides around the farm, feeding fish in the pond and visiting with horses, cows, goats and ducks in a petting farm area.
Warbington Farms, which in the spring offers pick-your-own strawberries, also recently opened for the fall season.
Each weekend through Oct. 27, the farm on Crow Road in north Forsyth, will present its Pumpkin Palooza festivals, with activities such as hay rides, a petting area, corn crib and inflatables.
Like the other pumpkin patches, Warbington’s owners have their pumpkins shipped in.
Owner Paul Warbington said this year they come from North Carolina and other farms in north Georgia.
“We’ve had about 2,000 shipped in so far and we’ll probably end up with at least 3,000 all together,” he said.
Warbington said so far the season has been a little slow, but likely will pick up as the season progresses.
“When the [Cumming Country Fair & Festival] is over, I’m sure we’ll have more people out,” he said. “It’s hard to compete with the fair.”
The Kinsey Family Farm and Cumming First United Methodist will also offer some special events throughout October.
Kinsey said this weekend, the farm will have a plant sale, and on Oct. 19, representatives from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office will visit with members of its motorcycle unit and a canine officer.
From 9 a.m. to noon every Tuesday-Thursday, youngsters are invited to take part in free storytimes at the church patch. Reservations should be made by calling (770) 887-2900, Ext. 220.
The church will also hold a family movie night called “The Great Pumpkin – Carving a Night of Fun” from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 26.
The event, which costs $10 per family, will include a hot dog supper, s’mores and popcorn, as well as a “punkin chunkin” contest, jack-o-lantern carving and hayrides.
It will conclude with a viewing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on an inflatable, outdoor scene.
No matter which patch they visit, Forsyth is full of fall family fun.
“There are so many families that make [visiting a pumpkin patch] a tradition every year, so it’s a lot of fun for everybody,” Kinsey said.