Screams of pure joy filled the air as kids came running outside Central elementary school Tuesday to find a pumpkin patch had magically appeared in their schoolyard.
The community project saw 250 orange pumpkins placed on the school fields on Oct. 19 – creating an instant pumpkin patch.
The feel-good stunt was pulled off for the school by Chilliwack Dogwood Monarch Lions Club, The Book Man, with help of the Chilliwack Chiefs and community volunteers.
It was Ian Carmichael of the Lions Club who suggested the pop-up pumpkin patch on the sports fields, after he led a similar project back in 2008.
“We are ever so proud and thankful to be able to participate in this, and bring the joy of the season to the children of Central elementary,” Carmichael said.
The secret plan went ahead, with permission and gratitude from school principal Leslie Waddington, who donned a pumpkin costume to play along. Teachers had primed their students last week, regaling them with pumpkin stories and poems, and they even planted ‘magic pumpkin seeds’ in the field on Friday, knowing a load of pumpkins would be appearing Tuesday.
Some Chilliwack Chiefs came out and helped unload the truckload of pumpkins from Fantasy Farms. They even postponed a practice so they could show up.
“It’s an honour to be helping out such a great school,” said Barry Douglas of the Chilliwack Chiefs. “Helping our community any time we can is such a humbling experience.”
All the volunteers couldn’t help but be swept away by the simple pleasure the children were expressing, jumping, exclaiming, twirling, screeching, just from being in a field full of unexpected pumpkins.
“I’ll tell you there’s nothing in the world more joyous than a school full of elementary students running out screaming ‘pumpkins!’ at full speed!” said Amber Price of The Book Man, who organized the project, and chipped in with decoration supplies. The Lions Club covered the pumpkin costs.
She thanked all the partners who made it happen.
“Community is something that we choose. It’s something that we build together, by removing the space in between us, and finding ways to come together to make things brighter, better and more fun for each other.”
Months ago, Carmichael told Price a story about the last time the Lions Club pulled off the pumpkin caper, and it seemed like the perfect COVID-friendly activity for everyone to have a little fun with.
The plan was for each child to decorate their own kid-sized pumpkin in class, with paint, sparkly stickers, pipe cleaners and pompoms, before taking it home.
“We all need a little joy these days,” Price added.
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