KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - A church in Kilgore is continuing a tradition it started more than 20 years ago, but with a few changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Benjamin Bagley, senior pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, tells us the church wanted to make sure it kept things as normal as possible but also safe.
“The COVID-19, coronavirus pandemic really made planning for it a little more complicated,” Bagley said about this year’s Pumpkin Patch. “We normally like to start working on stuff February, March, start coming up with a game plan. And that’s kind of when the world went topsy-turvy, but we decided early on we wanted to do everything we could. We really wanted to give everybody the opportunity to enjoy the pumpkin patch, but to do it in a safe way that didn’t put anybody at risk.”
Bagley says the planning for this year’s even picked up around July when they were trying to decide what the pumpkin patch should look like.
“The beautiful thing about the way we do the pumpkin patch is for the most it’s safe, it’s outside,” he said.
Organizers require visitors to maintain social distancing and ask that you wash your hands before and after your visit to the pumpkin patch.
This is the church’s 22nd year of hosting the Pumpkin Patch, and Bagley said it’s a great event for families to get out of the house and into the community.
“Most importantly, I think to have a little bit of normalcy,” he said. “With this being the 22nd year, a lot of people have gotten used to coming to the pumpkin patch in October. So, even if it does look a little bit different with some of our activities, at least they still have the normalcy of being able to come here.”
The Pumpkin Patch at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Kilgore is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The annual event also provides outreach for the community.
“We do sell the pumpkins. We have a couple of fundraisers throughout the Pumpkin Patch through the month of October, but we give back," Bagley said.
The Pumpkin Patch Committee has given back to numerous organizations in Kilgore, including Helping Hands and The Salvation Army. Proceeds also fund community outreach through the church as well as mission trips.
“While it is a fundraiser, it is very much a community outreach event," Bagley said. "All of the funds go back to do something community related.”