A new fundraiser to support the Superior community sprang up this month in the parking lot of Hardee's Family Restaurant. The Pumpkin Patch, a sea of 1,000 orange pumpkins from Oklahoma, opened Oct. 5. By Friday, Oct. 16, only 400 were left.
Dollars raised through sales of the holiday squash will be earmarked for community outreach efforts at Faith United Methodist Church, including Harbor House Crisis Shelters, the food pantry, free community dinners, the community garden, day care programming and the Wildfire youth mission event.
It took mere minutes for Carlie LaLone, of Hermantown, and her daughter Haylie, 9, to pick the perfect pumpkin in the patch Friday. Carving a Halloween pumpkin is a family tradition for the pair.
"She comes up with the idea, and mom draws it out and has to carve it," Carlie LaLone said. "It's beyond my skill level most of the time, but I get it done."
"That's what makes it unique," said Donna Cole, a member of Faith United Methodist Church, as she measured the orange squash.
Haylie, who will play for the Hermantown Squirts hockey team this year, said she's settled on a hockey theme for the Pumpkin Patch gourd.
The church's traditional fundraising efforts, such as pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners and more, have been put on hold due to the pandemic. The Pumpkin Patch offers a socially distant option to support the community.
"It's a wonderful thing for the church and the community too," Cole said. "A lot of people have been here."
Church member Wes Kruse offered to bring his vintage 1972 camper trailer to the parking lot and live on-site during the event. He's got a working heater in the vehicle, but Kruse said he keeps his mittens on overnight. Every morning he dries off the pumpkins to protect them from freezing. Sales take place from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will continue until the last of the pumpkins are gone.