St. James Pumpkin Patch welcomes families this weekend

Published 11:20 am Friday, October 22, 2021

GRAMERCY — The St. James Parish Pumpkin Patch is a reminder that community prevails through the challenges of Hurricane Ida’s devastation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fall Season is in full swing as the Pumpkin Patch opens to families from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. October 21-23 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 24 at the St. James Parish Welcome and Tourist Center.

Sunday is set to deliver barrels of fun with the Parish’s first Fall Festival. Following the Lions Club’s 5K run, the Pumpkin Patch will welcome more than 20 vendors to showcase their crafts and homemade goods. Several food trucks will be on site, and entertainment will be provided by a DJ and a local dance company. The St. James Parish Library is also coming out for a spooky Halloween story time. After picking out the perfect pumpkin, children can also enjoy fall-themed crafts.

St. James Parish Public Information Officer Meredith Conger said it was unclear whether St. James Parish would be able to host this year’s Pumpkin Patch in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ida’s devastation.

The event, which is traditionally hosted by the local Lions Club for the entire month of October, was previously cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. With COVID-19 once again presenting a challenge for 2021, St. James Parish took the reins and planned to host the Pumpkin Patch during the last two weeks of October.

“We knew it was going to be a little bit smaller because this was the first time the Parish has put on the Pumpkin Patch, but once we had the hurricane pass through, it really impacted all of our staff members, and we’ve been dealing with recovery for the past month,” Conger said. “After the storm, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to do it at all. The parish president said we have to make it happen, even if it’s just one weekend.”

When the Pumpkin Patch was announced late last month, St. James Parish President Pete Dufresne said, “After much consideration, I felt it was extremely important to do all that was necessary to move forward with the event for the children of our community.”

He added, “Last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are determined not to allow Hurricane Ida to cancel our event again this year. Our staff have been working diligently to plan a great event for our community and we are hopeful that this year’s limited event will bring a bit of normalcy back to our children.”

Conger said the Pumpkin Patch festivities mark a return to normalcy not only for children looking to experience fall fun, but also for the small business owners who have been impacted by the pandemic for the past 18 months.

“We think it’s very important to offer something like this where the community has a chance to come together, especially for our local businesses and our local artisans who really haven’t been able to sell their goods over the last year because of COVID and everything else,” Conger said. “We really wanted to have it this year, and we weren’t going to let Hurricane Ida stop that.”