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Central City’s Pumpkin Patch  

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With Halloween Fun Trunk and much more

By Jaclyn Schrock

Central City’s Pumpkin Patch sets up in the Big-T parking lot along the retaining wall with plenty of parking for the families who have come to the pumpkin patch with increasing numbers each year. The more people, the more fun is shared and remembered.

What is the Pumpkin Patch?

Free Halloween Fun Trunk treats decorated with spooky webs and critters offered candy ready to grab and run for fright.

The Hay Bale Maze had corners with pumpkins to be chosen to take home. Pumpkin coupons from the Century and Central City Visitor’s Center and purchases sent medium or large pumpkins to a traditional decoration for this creepy season.

Paste-on decorations were an option, rather than carving a jack-o’-lantern for kids.

Bounce houses kept children happy and safe for extended periods of time.

Some faces were painted, and costumed guests got bonus gifts.

A local farmer, 5280 Produce, provide the pumpkins, candy apples, dried corn stalks and the many bales of hay.

Food Vendors

  Nicky’s Quickie Gourmet Greek Gyros is respectful of religious food choices and frequent nutritional allergies avoiding the use of soy and gluten. Originating out of Vail, CO, now with a storefront in Denver, the carefully prepared food is worthy of every bite.  The flagship vendor stand began at the Vail Farmer’s Market continuing each year every Sunday June to the 1st of October. Like at the Pumpkin Patch, the vendor stand can also be found at many festivals, events and catering.

Large Marge’s Philly Cheese Steaks, opened in 2007, will be 14 years at their 3898 Kipling location this January in Denver. Large Marge’s vendor station is found at many Denver metro events: Coors Field, festivals, Taste of Colorado, and even earned Best of in 2011 at the Sturgis, SD Buffalo Bill Days, and many more.

Holistic Homestead

The organic food share program that distributes whole or half shares the 1st and 3rd Saturday each month at the Rec Center set up to give exposure for the program. Members are currently picking up their organic produce from as local as possible in season, and transported out of season.

With great anticipation, Holistic Homestead will be opening a grocery store in the Professional Building on Hwy 46 hopefully in early 2020. They have received a grant to set up operations providing organic produce and meat from Golden Locovore. Beginning with four days a week, the market will be open, Thursdays through Sundays 10-3 for Gilpin grocery shopping.

There is also anticipation, at a later time, of a café that would emerge in conjunction with the grocery store. A flexible menu system would allow for creativity and nutrition found with availability of seasonal goods.

The main purpose of the Pumpkin Patch is for children of all ages to enjoy the festivities anticipating the spooky season of fun.

Deborah Wrightman remembers the fun of Halloween growing up, volunteering so other children can have the same fun. Deborah has volunteered significant quantities of enthusiasm and organization for the Halloween project. Her mother trained her well over the many years of making this season the most desired fun for those near them. Deborah honors her mother to help make the Pumpkin Patch a special, festive and ghostly event with Main Street Central City.

Growing up in New Jersey, she also remembers “mischief night” planned and completed Oct 30th with other young friends playing pranks each year. With respect of others first, playful fun was never destructive. She recalled some activities that may have occurred. Surprising a neighbor by soaping car windows, or even business windows that wash right off. Or leaving the illusion of webs with toilet paper or even black thread on bushes, trees, and doorways. Eggs were sometimes uses to make goopy messes, but could also be more of a bother than fun, to waste precious food. She even heard of some who put horse manure in a paper bag, lighting the bag on fire on a cement porch, ringing the bell and running away. Great delight was retold, to see someone from a distance, stomp out the fire with the stinky stuff left on their shoe.

Trick or treat was the calling when neighbors came to visit on Halloween. They could choose to have a trick played on them, usually as a joke told or a surprising drama or song, then a treat would be given. That was the story passed through families of Halloween in the 1930’s – 50’s.

Approximately eight volunteers accomplished this Pumpkin Patch event, with the Central City staff who frequently switch out the hats they wear in their many roles. Lisa Roemhidt who had been an intern serving Central City as Main Street Advisor until graduating from University of Colorado, was hired on permanently with the city so continues to advise Main Street volunteers with the festive fun.

The vendors were pleasantly rewarded for presenting their goods to our community. Only a small percent of pumpkins did not find a new home. The sale of pumpkins and candy apples made this year a financially effective event.

Main Street Central City presents Stills in the Hills in the summer, the Pumpkin Patch in October, and Tommyknocker Holidays in December. This is the third year for the Pumpkin Patch.

Tommyknockers are well remembered by Gilpin Elementary School children. Each elementary student. makes an ornament they put on the tree at one end of Main Street. They parade up to the Teller House for a party with Father Christmas. After a story time and the upper grades choir sings traditional songs, treats are passed out before loading up the buses to return the kids to school.

We look forward to the 22nd Tommyknockers Holidays, Dec. 5-8th. Those interested in a booth will need to act quickly, as the deadline for vendor booths is October 25th.

Friday night at the Tommyknocker Holidays is the Lighting of the Tree, which had been decorated by the school children the day before. Once the lights are lit, a candlelight parade sings carols on the way to the Teller House for a community pot luck dinner. After dinner, the Peak to Peak Chorale entertains, and the attendees compete in the Ugly Sweater Contest.

Saturday and Sunday the place is full of the spirit of Christmas, encouraged by those Tommyknockers pranks. A Gift Bazaar with Father Christmas recognizing creative and crafty vendors of food, arts and crafts sprawl through the main floor of the Teller House. Festivities also include; cookie decorating, coloring contest, Gingerbread house decorating contest, and a Victorian Costume contest. Main Street Central City sponsors these events because history repeats itself when it comes to holidays.

Main Street Central City is a local volunteer group of citizens, businesses, local organizations and government. Keeping traditions alive with the Tommyknocker Holidays and children’s activities with the Pumpkin Patch, as well as support for the Belvidere Theatre are made by Main Street Central City.

Main Street is a national program in thousands of other communities maintained to revitalize each local main street district by diversifying and expanding businesses and cultural opportunities while perpetuating its historic integrity and value. Intending to help the community to look at “Main Street” as the heart of our community, they focus on keeping historic old building integrity and reviving the commercial core, and bring positive influences to counter balance the suburban sprawl, to keep a sense of place and community life.  They focus on a four point plan: organize, economic revitalization, promotion, and design.

Joining into the fun and celebrations they offer our small town community keeps all of us remembering why we love it here so much.

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