The Perfect Pick

Pick-A-Pumpkin Day, hosted by Heart of Aloha Church. Photo by Laura Pilz.

Micah Friel, 5, scoured the pumpkin patch for a few minutes before running over to the biggest one he saw, bending down to wrap his arms around his large selection, and lift it with all his might.  The pumpkin was almost as big as he was, and when his grandmother asked if he was sure he wanted to take home such a big one, he nodded with a smile.

Micah was one of many keiki who picked their perfect pumpkin Saturday morning at Heart of Aloha Church’s third annual Pick-A-Pumpkin Day.  The event, hosted at the church’s 4.2-acre parcel of land along Kalae Highway in Kualapu`u, featured hundreds of orange, white and green pumpkins to choose from, which they had started planting in June.

The hefty weight of this pumpkin didn’t stop Micah Friel, 5, from taking it home. Photo by Laura Pilz.

“It’s a good family activity for the kids,” said Pastor Cameron Hiro, who has been with Heart of Aloha Church for the past five years.  “The goal is to offer the community a hug and handshake and to let other people get to know us.”

Clay Ching, who serves as the church’s associate pastor, said the festival was a different, realistic way of reaching out to the community “without being too church-y.”  In addition to volunteering his time to care for the pumpkins, Ching was also in charge of the wagon rides around the patch, a popular attraction for both kids and adults.

The day also featured a bounce house, a photo booth area, wagon rides and plenty of food selections, including malasadas, a popular favorite, according to Ching.

The Pick-A-Pumpkin festival precedes a much bigger event this month, the HallowHim Festival, for which Heart of Aloha will partner with other local churches to host.  The event will be held at Kaunakakai Baptist Church on Oct. 31.


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