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‘Pumpkins for Literacy’ raises money for local schools
SMOKEY POINT — For the seventh year in a row, visitors to the Smokey Point Plant Farm will have a chance to pick out a Halloween pumpkin and support literacy in the Marysville, Arlington and Lakewood school districts at the same time.
From now through Oct. 31, the Marysville Noon Rotary is conducting its annual “Pumpkins for Literacy” campaign, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day at the Plant Farm to promote programs in support of reading and writing at Marysville, Arlington and Lakewood schools.
Marysville Noon Rotarian Harv Jubie explained that the program has raised more than $150,000 locally since it was started, all of which has been donated to literacy promotion efforts. Those efforts have included buying dictionaries for every third-grade student in the Marysville School District, educational grants for programs designed to help reading teachers, and support of English-as-a-second-language classes for adults at Liberty Elementary.
Jubie encouraged area families to stop by the Plant Farm, enticing them with the prospect of hay wagon and train rides, a “story barn,” a petting zoo, and of course, plenty of pumpkins of all sizes to choose from.
“It’s all free, except for the pumpkins,” Jubie said.
Siobhan Smart and her brother Elijah picked out pumpkins at the Plant Farm for the first time Oct. 11, browsing through the smaller pumpkins. Smart heard about “Pumpkins for Literacy” through a mothers-of-preschoolers group that she belongs to, and she was pleasantly surprised by what she found.
“I expected that I might have to walk through a muddy patch,” Smart said. “These are all already pre-picked. It’s really neat for the kids, to be able to come here and have a fun time.”
Olivia Sizer is almost smaller than some of the pumpkins in the patch, but the toddler dutifully picked out a big one for her parents, even though she was barely able to do more than tip it over.
“This is our second year coming here,” said Olivia’s mom Michelle. “It helps that she loves the bouncy house and hay wagon rides. My husband’s from farming country in eastern Washington, so we love coming to the Plant Farm to see the animals and tractors. We got three pumpkins last year, but it was drizzling then. The weather this year has been nice.”
Last year’s bad weather didn’t stop Jana Palin from returning to the Plant Farm this year. She even brought along a friend, fellow Camano Island resident Cathie Hegeland.
“We’ve been coming since our son Carson was two years old,” Palin said. “He’s six now. It’s kid-friendly, they don’t charge you to enter, and your purchase of pumpkins helps out literacy programs. It’s become a tradition for us.”
“I can already tell it’s going to become a tradition for us, too,” Hegeland said.
The Plant Farm is located just south of the Smokey Point Costco, and can be reached be going westbound off Exit 206 of Interstate 5.