A field trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Posted 10/14/17

On a cool, early October morning, more than 200 kindergarten students and approximately 150 of their family members converged on Faye Whittemore Farms in Jasper for a field trip to the Pumpkin …

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A field trip to the Pumpkin Patch


On a cool, early October morning, more than 200 kindergarten students and approximately 150 of their family members converged on Faye Whittemore Farms in Jasper for a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch.

Thanks to the Jasper City Schools realignment, it marked the first time all kindergarten classes in the district had taken a field trip together under one school identity. The 12 classes all came from T.R. Simmons Elementary School.

While I’ve been a part of field trips to pumpkin patches in the past, it has typically been with only our family or a few other families. This was my first public school trip for not only our 6-year-old Joy, but also for Andrea and I.

Since I’m known as the “newspaper dad,” it was understood that I would bring a camera along for the trip, and the first order of business was getting a group photograph of all 200 children. In what could only be described as a minor miracle, all the children did a great job of forming a group and being still enough that we could take the photo. The only problem was that while the children were getting organized, the parents kept creeping closer and closer to the big group, so I had to turn around and use my “big boy” voice to push the parental bystanders back about 100 yards so I could back up enough to get the photo everybody wanted.

Once the group photo happened, the students split up into their individual classes and went on to enjoy all the activities at the Pumpkin Patch, which includes an inflatable slide, a hay maze, a petting zoo, bounce houses, cane pole fishing, face painting, an obstacle course, a train and a pirate ship playground. A wagon ride to pick out a pumpkin is also included.

Faye Whittemore Farms is a great asset to our community, especially during the month of October while the Pumpkin Patch is operating. People come from all over north Alabama to have fun on the farm. It provides an economic boost during this month and it is a great place for our local students to go on a field trip. It is also a great place for families, as it is now open on Saturdays and Sundays throughout October for anyone to come out and enjoy a day on the farm. Admission is $12 and that includes every activity, including picking out a pumpkin.

While I wanted to spend time with my little girl, I also wanted to get pictures of more than just her class. Early in the day, I took the opportunity to visit with different classes. All the boys and girls were having a great time and were more than happy to get their picture taken for the newspaper.

Most of the second half of the day, I spent with Joy and her class. I’m pretty sure that I know the entire class by name now, and they all know me as Joy’s dad who works at the newspaper.

Andrea and I also used the trip as an opportunity to meet several of her classmates’ parents. I’m happy to report there was no one who I felt like punching in the throat before the day was over, so I consider that a win. Honestly, the entire group of parents and children were very nice. By the end of the day, most of the children had picked out pumpkins that weighed about as much as they do, and everyone was starting to get tired as the cool morning had transformed into a warm afternoon. Andrea and I both left with a slight sunburn, but it was worth it to be with Joy and her little friends.

I’m still getting used to being a public school parent. I hate school fundraisers. I’m not a fan of waiting in line ever, so the car rider line was an adjustment. I’ve also been sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly labeled as a rebel and a rule-breaker for much of my life, so there are some minor things that just get on my nerves, but our experience with T.R. Simmons has really been great so far. Jonathan Allen does an outstanding job as principal, and Joy’s teacher, Jessica Fletcher, has been great with Joy, who I sometimes affectionately call “our feral child.”

James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or james.phillips@mountaineagle.com.