The Pumpkin Patch in the Pool has been a tradition at Arne Hanna Aquatic Center for 19 years, says Lori M. Jacobson, aquatics manager for Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department.
This year’s event is 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct, 24, and costs $5 per person to swim and take home a pumpkin, while pumpkins last.
“The Friends of the Aquatic Center have been donating pumpkins or funds for the purchase of between 150 and 200 pumpkins of every shape and size for the special event over the years,” Jacobson says. “We pick up the pumpkins several days prior to the event to clean them and place them around the facility for the big day so everyone can see what we have to offer.
“The fun thing about pumpkins is that they float,” Jacobson says. “We toss a couple in during some of the water exercise classes and swim lessons for fun and games. This gets participants excited about coming to the Pumpkin Patch in the Pool event.”
“The lifeguards enjoy playing games with the participants during the Pumpkin Patch in Pool event,” she says. “They really like tossing the pumpkins in the pool during the event and helping participants of all ages pick out their pumpkins.”
In addition to being able to pick out a pumpkin and swim around with it, there will be games and safety activities for all ages in the beach-entry pool, diving pool and the large lap-lane play pool. And treats will be available at the front desk as participants depart the event.
Lance Romo, recreation coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department, managed the event from 2003 to 2011, and says the range of kids who participated was broad, up to young teens.
“We’d pick the pumpkins up in a big dumptruck, wash them all and rest them on the pool deck until go time,” he says.
“It’s the coolest — and by coolest I mean warmest — pumpkin patch in Whatcom County,” Romo says. “And it’s the most fun you'll ever have with a squash!”
“Oddly, he says,” the sight of melons floating in a pool make something like 80 percent of the people at the pool smile. The other 20 percent just wonder why they are there.”
Justin Shields, recreation coordinator at the center, says U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members will help fit life jackets onto the kids and educate parents about proper fitting.
“They also bring a small raft for kids to paddle or row across the pool once they are wearing proper life jackets,” Shields says. “This is a popular event, so come early to be sure to get your pumpkin!”
Red Wheelbarrow Writers seek submissions
Bellingham’s Red Wheelbarrow Writers group is encouraging submissions for it first publication, an anthology with the theme “Memory into Memoir.” Memoir pieces should be no longer than 3,000 words.
The group’s founders, Cami Ostman, Laura Kalpakian and Susan Tive, will make the primary selections. Deadline is Oct. 30.
Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pumpkin Patch in the Pool
When: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24
Where: Arne Hanna Aquatic Center, 1114 Potter St.
Details: 360-778-7665, cob.org/government/departments/parks