Pumpkins will once again grace the grounds of Hopewell Presbyterian Church for its annual Pumpkin Palooza, which is scheduled on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Organized by the church in Hopewell Borough, this will be the sixth year of the event.
“We have always had a fall festival and it has morphed into this Pumpkin Palooza for about six years. We do like to invite the community. The pumpkins are a draw. We are raising money for the Creative Connections Play School this year,” said Cathy Peterson, organizer of Pumpkin Palooza. “Originally, we would raise money for different missions our church is involved with, but starting last year we started to focus on raising money for a need in the community.”
Spearheading this year’s event with Lucy Ducko, Peterson said this year’s proceeds are going to the Creative Connections Play School’s scholarship fund, so that families can have an easier time with cost.
“This year we want to promote [the school] and raise money for their scholarship fund. We house this wonderful school and we want all to have access to the rich experience it offers to young children in the community,” Peterson said. “The school will be open for tours during Pumpkin Palooza.”
Creative Connections Play School is a preschool to kindergarten learning facility located inside of the church. The school focuses on a Reggio Emilia approach to education, which exposes children to a wide variety of educational opportunities that encourage self-expression, communication, logical thinking and problem-solving.
There is not a set fundraising goal for the event, but the church hopes to raise as much money as they can.
“As we consider what to do with our proceeds, we strive to draw attention to issues and opportunities in the community. Last year we raised about $3,000 for NAMI Mercer (National Alliance for Mental Illness) in an effort to raise awareness about mental illness, which afflicts so many, yet remains shrouded in stigma,” Peterson said.
Most pumpkins and activities at Pumpkin Palooza will be under $10 and will benefit the scholarship fund, while offering families entertainment.
“We have pony rides, face-painting and other activities for children during the day. The silent auction has so many things for adults and has great gift baskets. We have a bunch of lovely donations that include piano lessons and an opportunity to spend time in a rental house on the outer banks,” Peterson said.
For Peterson the best part about Pumpkin Palooza is the way the church engages the community.
“This is all about welcoming our neighbors and enjoying this beautiful weather and season. We will have hamburgers, hotdogs and homemade soup,” she said. “The money we raise helps our youngest start in the school. We are happy to provide this opportunity and provide for the families of Hopewell.”
For more information about Pumpkin Palooza, visit www.hopewellpres.org.