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Pumpkin patch off to a great start as good weather brings out the locals
MARYSVILLE Locals are beating a path to the biggest pumpkin patch around to get a head start on their Jack O Lanterns, and when they do they are also giving a boost to reading efforts in area schools.
For the eighth year running the Marysville Rotary Pumpkins for Literacy Patch is doing land-office business. The second year in a larger, more visible location in Lakewood has brought out families in record numbers to play in the many attractions. The Plant Farm at Smokey Point is hosting the patch just west of the freeway, with lots of room for hayrides, train rides, bouncy houses and a new story barn.
After a rough start with stormy weather at the beginning of the month, the patch was filled with local families loading up on the familiar orange orbs. Sunny weather on Friday and over the weekend prompted people to flood the grassy patch on Twin Lakes Avenue for some good clean fun.
The Hoxie family from north Marysville was scrambling over the field of pumpkins, with three-year-old Eric and 17-month-old Lenea clambering around the field as they looked for the perfect pumpkin under a bright blue sky. This was their second time at the patch, according to father John.
They love going to the pumpkin patch, he said.
Its a lot better than going to a grocery store, echoed his wife Sarah.
Yvette Hawks of Marysville was there with friends and family since the site was a nice half-way point between their houses. This was her first trip to the patch, she said.
Usually I try to get my kids out on some fall activities and a hayride, Hawks said as her kids posed in one of the cut-outs. I wanted to do something different this time.
Kristen McKee of Arlington was there with her family as husband Jon tried to herd their toddlers, Miles and Macena, around colorful lot. One-year-old Macena has eyes bigger than her arms. Only reluctantly did she accept a pumpkin she could carry herself after trying in vain to lift several that were as big as she is. Mom said the train rides were a big draw for her kids, but she said she wasnt aware that proceeds from sales of pumpkins and concessions went to fund reading programs in Arlington, Marysville and Lakewood school districts.
I knew it was something with the schools, McKee said.
For Chris Nation the weather was the key, as he predicted a record turnout. Attendance and temperatures go hand-in-hand, he explained as he sold hotdogs at the concession stand.
Its picking up; people are showing up, Nation said.
For the first time there is a story barn where kids can sit in tiny chairs while a volunteer reads a yarn. A former storage shed was remodeled with carpets, lights and even a fireplace (electric) to make it nice and cozy, according to Paul Jay.
Nation noted that last year the patch raised enough money to buy nearly a thousand dictionaries for third-graders in Marysville schools, at a cost of $12,000. In addition, the Rotary was able to contribute $18,000 to elementary schools and $6,000 to middle schools in Arlington, Lakewood and Marysville.
The Rotary Pumpkins for Literacy Patch will operate until the end of the month, with hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. It is located at the Plant Farm at Smokey Point, 15022 Twin Lakes Boulevard, just south of the Lakewood Crossing shopping center off of 172nd Street NE.