Pumpkin Patch to return at North Little Rock First UMC

Annual fundraiser returns Sept. 24, 2023

written by Laura Turner, NLR First UMC Communications Coordinator

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – After last years’ successful North Little Rock First United Methodist Church youth fundraiser, the pumpkins are returning to NLRFUMC.

The long-running annual tradition begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, when thousands of pounds of pumpkins arrive at the church to be unloaded by dozens of church volunteers on the eve of a 38-day fundraiser to benefit NLRFUMC youth programs. 

Pumpkins will go on sale at noon the following day, Sept. 24, during a special opening event and ribbon cutting called “Party at the Patch.” There will be pumpkin-themed beverages, snacks and lawn games. The pumpkins will be available for purchase through Oct. 31 on the church grounds near the fellowship hall entrance. In the past, the fundraiser was held in the front of the church facing John F. Kennedy Boulevard, but it was moved last year due to safety and parking concerns for our Children’s Enrichment Center families. The back lawn allows NLRFUMC to provide more parking and a larger area for the pumpkin patch.

And for the first time ever, families can rent the Pumpkin Patch for children’s birthday parties with a minimal fee of $100. A two-hour party rental includes access to the Fellowship Hall and bathroom facilities, as well as complimentary “spooky” pumpkins for each child attendee.

The yearly pumpkin patch dates to 1994 and has drawn big crowds each year of the sale. NLRFUMC postponed the sale amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but after last year’s sale, there is renewed excitement around the fall season and bringing the community together yet again.

“I am very excited to announce that the pumpkins are returning to NLRFUMC!” said Rev. Sara Bayles Charlton, NLRFUMC’s senior pastor. “This is my second year as senior pastor, and I loved welcoming the community to our wonderful church campus last year. Fall is a great time of year to notice the beauty of God’s creation and we are excited to share in spreading the joy throughout our community with our pumpkin patch.”

All proceeds from the pumpkin patch support summer mission trips and other programs for the NLRFUMC youth ministry, which includes 6th-12th graders from North Little Rock, Little Rock, Sherwood and the surrounding area.

“We’re so grateful for the community, their support with this fundraiser and appreciate how they have enabled our youth to serve others in our nation and to grow in their faith,” said Kathy Butler, NLRFUMC youth pastor and associate pastor of worship arts and innovation. “And now that we can rent out the pumpkin patch for birthday parties, we can share a fun and safe environment for our North Little Rock community.”  


North Little Rock First United Methodist Church, at 6701 JFK Blvd. in North Little Rock, has welcomed people of the central Arkansas community since 1977. A two-story classroom and daycare building that holds the Children’s Enrichment Center was built in 1994. We have more than 1,000 members on our roster and welcome all visitors. 


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