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Fun at the pumpkin patch
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Two local Methodist churches are helping the community celebrate the spirit of the festive season with harvest pumpkin patches.

This is the first pumpkin patch for the Covington First United Methodist Church while the Salem United Methodist Church has hosted a patch for the three years.

"The pumpkin patch is a fund raiser for a mission trip for our youth group," said Carroll Robock of Salem Methodist.

The Salem youth group is hoping to raise more than $3,000 for their spring mission trip to Guatemala.

"The money will be going for the teens' trip, but this is really a church wide project," Robock said. "We have really come together for this from unloading the pumpkins off the truck to the actual sale of the pumpkins."

Robock said retired members of the church were manning the patch during the day with the teens working mainly nights and weekends

Money from the First Methodist pumpkin patch will go to a variety of programs throughout the church.

"We're doing it to support our church and our missions and to fellowship with our own church members as well as the community," said Laura Spangler of First Methodist.

Besides the big carving pumpkins both churches are also selling small pumpkins, gourds and squash. First Methodist is also hosting a variety of fun activities for children.

"We are selling the pumpkins and we are also hosting field trips," Spangler said. "We have offered field trips to all the elementary schools and preschools in the area. Right now, Ficquett has signed up for all of their kindergarten classes to come here on a field trip. We're going to do storytelling and they are going to get a little pumpkin and they are going to be able to spend a little time out here."

The church will also host a preschool day that features games, inflatables and storytelling on Oct. 19.

So far only church members have signed up to read the scary and spooky stories, but others are welcome volunteer their time, Spangler said.

"There's nowhere to really buy pumpkins around here except for Wal-Mart and grocery stores so we thought that it would be a great local outreach to bring people to our church and also come and buy some pumpkins," Spangler said.

Spangler said the idea of hosting the pumpkin patch was first introduced by Kye Haymore, children's director at First Methodist. The church's pastors had previously held pumpkin patches at other churches and had experienced great success with the events.

"This is for everyone in the community," Spangler said. "We hope everybody will come out and pick up a pumpkin and enjoy themselves and see the beautiful church as well."

The Salem Methodist pumpkin patch is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. until dark, Saturday 10 a.m. until dark and Sunday 12 p.m. until dark.

The First Methodist patch is open 10 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12: 30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Spangler said families are welcome anytime to come and have their picture made with the fall harvest decorations. Both pumpkin patches will be open until Halloween.