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Cape’s popular Pumpkin Patch opens Saturday

By Staff | Oct 9, 2015

The 2015 Pumpkin Patch and Festival will open this weekend at a church in Cape Coral.

Faith Presbyterian Church has more than 1,400 pumpkins to sell out of its patch this year, with the opening day set for Saturday at 10 a.m. It will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Oct. 31.

The festival will take place the following weekend on Oct. 17 from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

Nancy Exline, organizer of the events, explained that the pumpkin patch and celebration serve as a fundraiser for the church’s youth group, covering the cost of its trips, programs and activities.

“So that helps pay for that,” she said.

The church has the pumpkins delivered from an Indian reservation farm in New Mexico.

“The cool thing about our patch, ours are all different sizes, all different shapes,” Exline said, adding that each one is hand-picked. “We charge by their measurement. It’s not by pounds, it’s by size.”

The pumpkins can range from $5, on up to $30.

“We also have a variety of gourds and smaller pumpkins,” she said.

They are all housed under tents to keep them out of the sun.

“They have their pick if they come early,” Exline said.

Along with the patch, there will be an area set up for families to take photographs.

“It’s a great opportunity to get a fall picture of the kids,” she said.

The next weekend, the festival is free for the public.

“We encourage people to bring a canned food item for our We Care Food Pantry,” Exline said.

It will feature activities and games, along with an award-winning puppet show.

The church has been hosting the celebration for at least 10 years.

“Every year it just kept growing, and we just kept adding to it,” she said.

One area offers free carnival-style games, with crafts, face painting and more set up inside. Another area features bounce houses and inflatables; tickets will be available for 50 cents each for those.

The tickets can also be used for on-site hay rides.

“We try to keep things very affordable for the community,” Exline said.

Wristbands can be purchased for $5 for unlimited access to the ticketed activities.

The puppet show will take place inside at about 5 and 7 p.m.

“Our puppet team is pretty remarkable,” she said. “We go to festivals and compete.”

A couple of years ago, the team won a gold medal.

“We have big black lights that we set up. Everything is in florescent colors with paint and fabric,” Exline said, comparing the show to acts like the Blue Man Group. “It’s a lot of fun.”

The Cape Coral Police Department will provide fingerprinting for families who want their children done, while the Lee County Sheriff’s Office will have its Bomb Squad on hand with its robot.

“We’re also going to have representatives from the Cape fire station,” she said.

Food will be available for purchase, from hot dogs and churros, to pulled pork sandwiches.

“A wide variety of food that ranges anywhere from $1 to $4,” Exline said.

Last year, an estimated 1,000 people turned out for the festival.

“We ran out of food, we ran out of everything,” she said, adding that they are better prepared now.

“We bought extra food, crafts,” Exline said. “We’re ready.”

Organizers hope to exceed more than 1,000 attendees this year.

“We hope we surpass last year’s total,” she said.

For more information on the patch and festival, email Nancy Exline at nancy@fpcfl.org

Faith Presbyterian Church is at 4544 Coronado Parkway.