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Pumpkin patches popular
Tyson Lightburn, 4, and mother Ginger pick out a pumpkin at Cumming First United Methodist Church. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Forsyth County has no shortage of pumpkin patches or customers taking advantage of the seasonal activities they bring.

Besides grocery stores and other retailers, there are at least three local patches offering fun for families picking out their favorite orange, or other colored, orbs.

For more than a decade, Cumming First United Methodist Church has featured a patch during October.

Proceeds benefit a number of student ministries, including Vacation Bible School, after-school programs and local retreats and mission trips.

Volunteer Linda Cox said students help out in the patch in the evenings after they get out of school, while adult volunteers and church employees man the patch during the day.

From 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. weekdays, church employees lead storytimes for young children.

"There’s always Corny the Crow, a puppet, which is really popular," Cox said.

This year, she said, the pumpkins were brought in from New Mexico.

"They came with a big semi-truck full of them and we spent about three or four hours unloading them," Cox said.

Among the church’s gourds are traditional orange, smooth pumpkins, ranging in size from tiny to large. There are also gourds in a rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes.

Similarly, the Kinsey Family Farm boasts several different types of pumpkins and other gourds.

The farm also sells a number of other seasonal items, including apples from nearby Ellijay, and honey, jams, jellies and breads from several Georgia distributors.

In November and December, the farm features both cut-your-own and pre-cut Christmas trees.

Kelly Kinsey, who owns the farm with brother Andy, said they’ve been offering pumpkins each fall for about seven years.

Besides picking out pumpkins for carving or pie-making, Kinsey said the farm has a number of other activities for families and school groups.

"There’s a hayride, where they can stop and feed the fish in our pond," he said. "We also have a petting area with cows and goats."

Kinsey said children and parents alike enjoy the farm’s Belted Galloway cows, which have a white "belt" around their middle surrounded by black.

"The one female is named Oreo and her son is Double Stuff," he said.

Like Kinsey, Warbington Farms offers a number of family activities.

Owner Paul Warbington said this year is the farm’s first with a pumpkin patch.

In the summer, the farm is known for its pick-your-own strawberry fields and other fresh vegetables.

Warbington said about 150 pumpkin plants were grown on the property by area children, who later picked them.

Those pumpkins are gone, he said, but the farm had another 800 or so brought in from other states.

"We have some from Michigan and some from North Carolina," Warbington said.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Warbington Farms will hold its first Pumpkin Palooza event.

"I’m thinking we’ll probably have around 3,500 customers come through that day," Warbington said.

The event will include about 30 vendors, live bluegrass and gospel music, face painting and inflatables.

"We’ll also have hayrides and we always have a petting farm," he added.

First UMC will also have a special event, A Night in the Patch, on Saturday.

Set for 4 to 9 p.m., it will feature a hot dog dinner, crafts, hayrides and live music.

Cox said there will also be a bonfire, balloon launch, chili cook-off, and family-friendly Halloween movies beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Kristi McCall said she’ll be bringing her two children, Dylan, 6, and Delia, 3, to the event.

"We always come to Night in the Patch," she said. "It’s like a family tradition. They put on a fantastic event."