Ask PJ White what size pumpkin he's looking for this Halloween, and he'll tell you "large" is the only criteria.
"I want a giant one," the 8-year-old said. "I like big ones. They're more better to make a face and stuff on."
The Seeliger Elementary School second-grader is going to the right place Saturday to pick up a pumpkin - his school.
The 13th annual Pumpkin Patch occurs from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at 2800 S. Saliman Road. A truckload of pumpkins will arrive Friday at the school and fifth-graders, as is tradition, will unload them and set up.
On Saturday, pumpkins will sell at $1.50, $2.50, $3.50 and $4.50, with prices based on size. Everything bought at the Pumpkin Patch will be done so with tickets, which are available for 25 cents a piece.
Nearly every teacher has a booth at the fair with fun activities for children. This year includes: bounce houses, basketball hoops, goofy golf, sack races and an obstacle course. One of the most popular booths students enjoy, including PJ, is the dunk booth.
"My favorite thing is the dunk tank where you get to throw tennis balls or something down the middle," he said. "I like that."
Parking at the school costs $1, and the fee buys a raffle ticket to win a yearlong permanent space in front of the school. Parents should not park along Saliman Road at risk of being ticketed.
Raffle tickets will also be sold to win $500 in Disney Dollars, which are redeemable anytime. Those tickets are on sale now and can be bought at the school or from any Seeliger student.
The Pumpkin Patch raises between $13,000-$14,000 dollars each year and the money is split among the participating classrooms.
"We have to take a bit out for the start-up costs," said Liz Beltrami, Pumpkin Patch coordinator. "It usually works out pretty well. Most years, we usually get about $200 a classroom."
The money is used to pay for field trips and other classroom expenses.
"We just came back from Spooner Lake," said Beltrami. "It's kind of expensive to go up there and (with this money) we don't have to worry so much about our expenses."
There will also be crafts for sale and food, like pizza, drinks, hot dogs, nachos, ice cream novelties and Jamba Juice.
The Pumpkin Patch started 13 years ago by parents who wanted to raise money for the teachers at the school.
"For the most part, it's been very popular," Beltrami said. "And it's turned more into a community event."
She says to come early Saturday. The pumpkins start to disappear as the day wears on.
"There's not very many left at the end of the day," Beltrami said. "It's very popular. A lot of families like to be able to come over to the patch and pick put the pumpkins rather than dive into the bins at the grocery store."
Although PJ is too young to climb inside the dunk tank and Beltrami has never been inside, former principal Laurel Terry used to volunteer - and this Saturday will tell if Principal Lee Conley follows.
"I get the feeling Lee will probably find his way into the dunk tank," Beltrami said.
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
If you go
What: Seeliger Pumpkin Patch
When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Seeliger Elementary School, 2800 S. Saliman Road
Pumpkin costs: $1.50-$4.50
Information: Seeliger at 283-2200