Autumn has arrived, and while it’s hard to ignore the lack of fall foliage and persistent humidity, there are nonetheless some signs that Miami is getting ready for fall.
The familiar gourd is not only making its annual appearance at pumpkin patches in the lead-up to Halloween — they are also appearing in local brews, baked goods and even beauty treatments.
“Why should the North have all the fun? We deserve to have fall here, too,” said Vanessa Goodis, event director of the Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival.
The event is a two-day celebration of all things autumn.
“This gives us a glimpse into the season,” said Goodis. “South Floridians really want something like this.”
Around the county, several spots have added pumpkin to their menu and are planning events around the fruit.
For Terry Rodriguez, a true sign of the season is when she and her children join other volunteers to unload hundreds of pumpkins for the Miami Shores Presbyterian Church School’s Pumpkin Patch, 602 NE 96th St.
“We help set them up and bring them to people’s cars if it is too big to carry,” said Jack Rodriguez, 10, a fifth-grader at the Miami Shores Presbyterian Church School. “It’s fun.”
Since South Florida isn’t the ideal location to grow pumpkins, the school purchases theirs from a farm in New Mexico.
The pumpkin patch will open on Oct. 15 and continue until supplies run out. The patch is open to the public from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Prices for the pumpkins start at about $0.50 and go up depending on the pumpkin size.
After pumpkins go on sale, the school also hosts its annual Fall Festival, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 20.
“There are things for kids to do for all ages,” said Rodriguez, a Miami Shores resident. “It’s a nice community event, and I think the whole community can’t wait for it.”
In Coconut Grove, the inaugural Pumpkin Patch Festival is set to be the “official kick-off for fall,” according to Goodis.
It takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 29 and 30 at Peacock Park, 2820 McFarland Rd.
“We’re taking over Peacock Park and transforming it into a magical fall wonderland,” said Goodis, adding that more than 2,500 pumpkins from an Amish farm in northern Michigan will be trucked in for the event.
The pumpkins will range in price from about $3 to $15, depending on the size .
“Once families pick out their perfect pumpkin, they can walk over to our decorating tent and decorate their pumpkin,” Goodis said.
There won’t be any carving at the event, but for $5, participants can decorate their pumpkin with stickers, googly eyes and other items.
The festival also includes activities such as scarecrow-decorating, games and a hay maze.
“I really wanted to give families the full experience,” said Goodis.
There is a $10 entry fee for adults and $5 for children younger than 12 to attend the festival.
For more information, visit coconutgrovepumpkinpatch.com.
The Poinciana United Methodist Church will host a pumpkin patch from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays daily from Oct. 16 to Oct. 30 at 300 N. Royal Poinciana Blvd., in Miami Springs. The prices for the pumpkins start at fifty cents and go up depending on the size of the pumpkin.