IMPERIAL – Families from around Imperial Valley brought out their little monsters and munchkins to Imperial Valley College Friday for the 11th annual IVC Agriculture Club’s pumpkin patch. In maintaining a fun tradition, the agriculture club continues to reach out to the community the best way they know, using their expertise and resources to bring attention to their department while giving little pumpkins the opportunity to pick out their own jack o’ lanterns.
As the fall sunset fell behind the Laguna Mountain Range, it sent an auburn glow across the western sky and created an eerie sight of rows of tall Sudan grass arranged in a haunted maze for anyone brave enough to follow the trail.
Locals attending the festivities enjoyed the last days of warm evenings, and the sounds of kids laughing and tractors chugging while pulling hay rides were broken by the squeak of a catapult and sudden sound of orange projectiles flung into the evening sky by the trebuchet for the ghoulish delight of everyone on hand.
But pumpkins weren’t the only things making an impact.
“This event is mainly about community outreach,” said Steven Ray Johnson, president of the IVC ag department. “We want to bring the community in and show them what we are doing.”
“Last year, this field was all dirt. Right now, we are standing in a field that took a whole year to triplane, planting seed, growing the Sudan you see over there and harvesting it and then putting that money toward this event — so we can bring the community in and have a great time,” Johnson explained.
“We are a fairly new program,” Johnson went on to say. “We are starting it back up slowly and with the help of the community, we are growing, but we are looking to planting other produce and stuff, and hopefully in the future, we can grow our own pumpkins out here for our pumpkin patch.”
Guadalupe Navarrete of Calexico brought out Christopher Gonzalez and Sophia Guerrero to the event, and it was not her first time attending. “This is our third year,” she said. “We enjoy the tradition of the pumpkins and seeing them get slung into the air (on the trebuchet) and the kids like the harvest pumpkin patch feel.”
“They like to be among the activities that are here,” Navarrete said.
Daniel Stevens also brought his children out to enjoy the fun. “This is good for the community,” Stevens said. “We need this kind of stuff here, otherwise we have to drive out of town for this.”
“The college gets to show us some of what they teach and learn here, and the kids get have fun too,” said Stevens.