More than 50,000 visit local church’s pumpkin patch despite pandemic
ROBINSON, Texas (KWTX) - A local church that has put on a pumpkin patch for the community for nine years, but was unsure how COVID-19 would affect the turnout this year is celebrating a bigger and better response than ever before.
David Tenberg, pastor of Point of Truth church in Robinson, said he thinks the response demonstrates the craving people have to be together again.
“People craved community especially with where we are,” Tenberg said.
“It exceeded every expectation we had. It was amazing.”
The free pumpkin patch which includes a hayride, train ride, a maze and country store is open to the public the entire month of October.
It started as a small gesture by the church nine years ago with few pumpkins and attractions, but has grown “15-fold,” Tenberg said.
Two years ago, 20,000 visitors came, but that paled in comparison to this year in which more than 50,000 people visited from 42 states in 20 different countries.
When COVID-19 hit, church members weren’t sure if they’d be able to carry on the tradition.
But as soon as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made the decision to reopen businesses at 75% capacity in September, the church decided to put in place strict safety measures and go for it.
“We were already in that new normal for six months so people were accustomed to social distancing and wearing a mask. We had wipes and sanitizing and we were outside,” Tenberg said.
Everything the visitors enjoy is free, but the pumpkins are for sale and end up providing the biggest fundraiser of the year for the church.
But the church says community, not money, is what the event is all about.
“The benefit of what we got to see even more so, with some heavy issues in this nation, we were able to see multi age and multi ethnicities in the patch all getting together and having a good time. It was absolutely beautiful.
Even though it’s a fundraiser we really do it for community outreach.”
The patch is also visited by several area schools each year for field trips.
This year because of COVID-19 those trips were canceled, so church members took pumpkins to schools and daycares, instead.
“Last year had over 3,500 school kids visit,” Tenberg said.
“This year we took the pumpkins to the schools. Everywhere from Waco to Bellmead, Temple and Robinson.”
Tenberg said members are catching their breath for now, but will soon begin planning for next year’s patch as the church celebrates a milestone.
“We’re super exited for next year,” Tenberg said.
“Next year will be the 10th anniversary. We look to not only increase and enhance, but really celebrate the 10th year anniversary.”
“When God gives you a vision it’s understanding that promise but it takes a process getting to that promise. We know the best is yet to come.”
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