By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
There are a few things that mean it’s fall in Pacific Palisades: cooler weather, festive events—and the arrival of two truckloads of pumpkins to be sold at the annual Palisades-Malibu YMCA Pumpkin Patch at Simon Meadow.
This year’s patch will feature “very cool new things,” Palisades-Malibu YMCA Executive Director Jim Kirtley explained to the Palisadian-Post. The delivery will include pumpkins, corn and more, equating to 275 pallets.
Part of the assortment will be knucklehead pumpkins, warty minion pumpkins, “show stopper” Big Mac pumpkins, and, for the first time, white pie pumpkins. There will be corn stalks, along with ornamental corn.
The patch will officially open with a pumpkin carving ceremony on Sunday, October 1, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a special guest on hand to help kick off festivities. Resilient Palisades will be there with composting stations and activities for kids, Kirtley said. In 2022, the event was attended by Senator Ben Allen, who helped with the first carving.
The lot will once again be supplied with its fall selection by Van Groningen & Sons, Inc., which, according to its website, is a farming business, based in California, with roots dating back to 1922 that has been passed down through generations of the Von Groningen family.
“For the past 99 years, we have worked to maintain our reputation for producing high-quality produce while operating with integrity, honesty and responsibility,” the website continued.
A select number of pumpkins will be sold that were grown at Simon Meadow: Some of the pumpkins that had rotted last year melted into the ground, Kirtley explained, and because of the rains, the seeds started to grow.
“Summer day campers made it a project where they would water them as part of the camp,” Kirtley continued.
The patch serves as one of YMCA’s biggest annual fundraisers, alongside the tree lot, which will return this year as well. In part, the fundraisers support the day camp.
“This goes to help all kinds of programs,” Kirtley said of the fundraising efforts. “It helps provide financial assistance for [Youth & Government], it goes to senior memberships … everybody and anybody who is in need.”
Funds also help YMCA host events at Simon Meadow for other area organizations throughout the year, like Pacific Palisades Community Council, which will host a Jubilee & Community Celebration on Saturday, September 30, and Council District 11, which previously hosted a safety fair. Malibu-Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce also hosted a Health & Wellness Day at Simon Meadow in August.
There will also be an annual glass sale, with Santa Monica College, which will take place on October 8 between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and a forthcoming display at Winding Way, which is designed each year by Cindy Simon and Tracey Price.
Before the kick-off event on October 1, the patch will be open on Friday, September 29, from 3 to 6 p.m. For the rest of the season, the patch will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, until the pumpkins are sold out.
“[The patch] allows us to be able to do the impactful programming we have,” Kirtley concluded.