Published October 30, 2013
Residents treated to pumpkins, goodies, family fun
By Cari DeLamielleure-Scott email@example.com
SYLVAN LAKE — Two tons of pumpkins arrived at the Sylvan Lake Community Center at 7 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, transforming the lawn into a personal pumpkin patch for the kids of Sylvan Lake.
Jan Hays, a resident of 26 years and a Realtor, sponsors the annual community event as her way of giving back to the public and showing her appreciation for the business residents have given her, she said. Hays is affiliated with Max Broock Relators, which has also hosted a pumpkin patch event in Birmingham for the past 25 years. This year marks the fifth year for the Sylvan Lake festivities, and according to residents Kelli and Bud Krause, the pumpkin patch is the event of the year.
“Events like this are really valuable to the community,” said Bud Krause. “She (Hays) has really just done a marvelous job in putting this together. It’s one thing to put a party together, but it’s another thing to create an event that literally everybody looks forward to all the time.”
The Krauses have been residents of Sylvan Lake for 30 years. They said that the event has grown yearly, and if Hays didn’t send out invitations, residents would still show up for the party.
In addition to providing free pumpkins, Hays distributed a local directory of homeowners and businesses that she put together. She set the bar with a feast for the kids and specialty drinks, like the Spooked Cider and Sangria, for adults. After picking out the perfect pumpkin, the kids decorated them with paint and stickers, and then meandered to the bounce house and the face painting station.
Hays participates in three major events each year, and she said the pumpkin patch is the biggest — the other events include designing a float for the Memorial Day parade and distributing flags to the approximately 810 Sylvan Lake homes for the Fourth of July.
“Every year, this event gets a little bit better. The first time, it was just the pumpkins. Now, it’s the food, and you look around and everybody knows everybody. I don’t know another community like this,” said Michael Zubrzycki, mayor of Sylvan Lake.
In years past, the pumpkin patch was held in a vacant lot, but this year, Hays filled the Sylvan Lake Community Center in case the weather forced them inside. And because the event is in Sylvan Lake, Kelli Krause said that most parents feel safe enough to let their kids roam.
“It’s a lot more than stop by and get a pumpkin, which may have been the genesis years ago, but it’s formed into a party,” she said.