The pumpkins are here and ready for carving! As the weather begins to turn, pumpkin patches start to sprout throughout Naples for families to stroll and find the perfect orange squash to carve into a jack-o’-lantern. An age-old tradition that goes back as far as, um, the 50s?, the annual walk of the pumpkin patch is the unofficial start to the holiday season. And little is more fun for a parent than to see their toddler waddle through the rows of brightly colored gourds and find the perfectly misshapen pumpkin to bring home for the porch. So in light of the season, naplesillustrated.com offers a quick list of some of the pumpkin patches around the corner for you to make some memories of your own.
St. Monica’s Episcopal Church
This year, St. Monica’s Episcopal Church‘s pumpkins have arrived and the patch will be open for business starting Friday, October 9, and run until the end of the month offering pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes. Open daily, 10 a.m. to dusk (Sunday, 11 a.m. to dusk), the patch aims to raise funds for the church’s youth programs and pilgrimages, as well as the Navajo Tribe of New Mexico. Be sure to try your hand at carving a jack-o-lantern and don’t forget to take plenty of fall photos.
On Saturday, October 24, St. Monica’s will host the Pumpkin Fest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Along with plenty of photo ops in the pumpkin patch, pony rides will be available, a bounce house, face painting, and baked goods for the sweet tooth.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-dusk; Sunday, 11 a.m.-dusk.
7070 Immokalee Rd.
Naples, FL 34119
As Halloween creeps up, ghosts and goblins of all ages will head out for family-friendly events. You can find tricks and treats at one of these events in the Greater Naples area.
North Naples Untied Methodist Church
The North Naples United Methodist Church‘s pumpkins will be unloaded and ready for carving on Saturday, October 10, with plenty of pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn ready for selection. The pumpkin patch will run through October 31, and will be equipped with a photo station to capture all those quintessential photo album moments. Proceeds of the patch will benefit the church’s youth ministries.
- Hours: Monday-Friday, 3-7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.- 7 p.m.
6000 Goodlette Rd. N.
Naples, FL 34109
Riverfest Autumn Celebration
Celebrate fall with Bonita Springs at the annual Riverfest Autumn Celebration on Saturday, October 24 at the historic downtown district. The family-friendly festival runs all day, beginning at 2 p.m., and will include a few pumpkin favorites, including a pumpkin patch and pumpkin-decorating contest. Also on the docket for the wee-ones: pony rides, petting zoo, hayrides, and carnival games.
For the adults looking to settle once and for all whose paddle master of Bonita Springs, the Imperial River Challenge kayak and canoe race will take to the river at 2 p.m. The time-trial race navigates a two-mile stretch of the river near downtown and Riverside Park, making it not only a fun way to burn some calories, but also a great way to explore Bonita Springs’ natural surroundings. Following the paddle race, the famed rubber duck race will have an armada of yellow quackers floating down the river in one of the slowest yet most contested race in Southwest Florida. Cash prizes go to the first three that cross the finish line. Ducks cost $5 per, $20 for five, and can be purchased at City Hall.
After an early afternoon of duck races, carnival games and paddle races, one can really work up an appetite. Luckily the traditional fish fry will get underway at 5 p.m. at the Liles Hotel Plaza. $15 per person ($10 when purchased in advance – call 239-949-6262), the fresh fried fish will be available through 9 p.m. and worth a trip to the party alone. At 5 p.m., Riverfest’s cornhole contest will commence.
- The party runs from 2-9 p.m. at the Liles Hotel Plaza. Admission to Riverfest is free. Proceeds from rubber duck and food purchases will benefit local charities. For more information, visit cityofbonitasprings.org.