Crossing over the Brazos River, headed away from Sugar Land Town Square going South on I-59, we had one destination in mind: seeking the biggest pumpkin patch in Fort Bend County. For the last eleven years, Holy Cross Episcopal Church, located at 5653 West Riverpark Drive in Sugar Land, has hosted the largest pumpkin patch event in the county. Live entertainment, local musicians, dance teams, silent auctions, face painting, mazes, bouncy houses, hayrides, food, and concessions have been the heart of this family fun pumpkin event.
As we arrived, late to the game in all things pumpkin this year, we were immediately greeted by bright orange signs displaying the times for the patch, as well as the smiling faces of event volunteers. Although the patch opened at the beginning of October, it runs through Halloween. The times posted state the patch is open on Fridays and Sundays from noon to dark, and Saturday from 9 AM to dark. No admission fees were required to enter, but certain events, like the maze, face painting, and hay ride, required tickets to participate. Each ticket cost a dollar, and—the best part!—tickets could be purchased with either cash or credit card.
Volunteers were at the ready at every turn, every one of them cheerfully helpful. They were prepared to help visitors bring pumpkins to the car, paint eager little faces, hand out larger-than-life cotton candy, and coat snocones in sugary syrup. Two of the volunteers hopped on the hayride with my son and me, and they giggled as we bounced throughout the open field beside the church, declaring they were now officially working the hayride activity. The driver, after hearing my son exclaim it was his first hayride, took us on “the extra long” route. In the words of my excited, green-eyed son, “It was very, very fun!”
Even when my son knocked over the hay bales for the picture area, while I asked him to stop trying to sit on the top bale, the volunteers didn’t bat an eye or make a grumpy remark—though they may have thought it! Luckily, I was not the only mother begging a tiny child to behave, and those pleadings always seemed to occur over the very reason and purpose for the pumpkin patch: to attain pretty photographs of tiny children.
Mothers everywhere were aiming cameras at little people, asking them to lift a pumpkin, sit on a hay bale, pose in the beautifully decorated cut out displays, or look up from a wagon. I stumbled upon a mother who was watching her tiny human run toward the park area, and asked if she would allow me to snap a picture of her son running through the hay. She remarked, “Good luck! I haven’t been able to get him to smile for me, yet!”
Yet another mother was pleading with two babies dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2 (twins!) to smile up at her camera. The dad ran behind with a pumpkin in hand, trying to keep them distracted while the mom clicked away.
Pumpkins were stationed throughout the area on pallets. Small orange and white pumpkins were stationed near the front, along with brilliantly colored gold and yellow gourds. Toward the middle and back of the patch were the larger pumpkins. While I stood and chose a few (…seven, I bought seven) to decorate later in the day, I noticed a group of pumpkins surrounding a neon green pumpkin with a smiling face at the back of the field. When I asked a volunteer why those pumpkins were away from the group, he said it was where the “bad” pumpkins go to become fodder for wild hogs at night… Poor pumpkins!
All in all, it was a beautiful sight to behold, watching families stream in and out of the grounds, partaking in the largest pumpkin patch in Fort Bend County. It was fun, it was festive, and it was a perfect event for a Saturday morning. While I could have stayed all day—and wanted to stay for the purported dancers – I can honestly say that this event has become a new family tradition for us. Hopefully, next year, we won’t be late to the pumpkin game, and we can see the beginning of the pumpkin patch, when all the pallets are out.
As I was leaving, I learned that every year the church donates all proceeds to charity. This year, they plan to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. I couldn’t think of a better way to help the Houston area this year, or a better patch to take my family to before Halloween.
Story by JM Robeson
Photos by JM Robeson