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Church to host pumpkin patch

The St. Joseph's Catholic Church youth group is bringing a pumpkin patch to Dickinson on Sunday, Oct. 20.

With corn stalks and hay bales as the backdrop, the pumpkin patch runs from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the church parking lot. There will be pumpkins for sale, carnival games, inflatables and concessions served throughout the day.

"It's a fundraiser for the youth ministry," Director of Youth Ministry Scott Foresman said.

Everyone in the community is invited to participate in the events -- including a "Pie the Priest" booth, he said.

Joining the St. Joseph's staff a month ago, Foresman said the group is open to youth of any denomination or those who may not be affiliated with a church.

Foresman has ideas for expanding the youth ministry, including a family ministry and maybe a marriage ministry.

"They are all connected," he said. "And beyond that, I'd like to see our youth reaching out in the community in some way."

Foresman recently converted to the Catholic faith after serving as an ordained Episcopal priest for 30 years. He worked in Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, California and most recently in Omaha, Neb. Having served in another denomination, he asked God for direction in his ministry.

"And he did," Foresman said. "Bob Barker used to say, 'come on down!' Father Keith said, 'come on up!'"

Foresman said the pumpkin patch fundraiser will help with upcoming youth group expenses, including a Bismarck Diocese high school youth rally in Dickinson on Thursday. A highlight is attending the annual Hills Alive concert in Rapid City, S.D.

Foresman expressed his appreciation to the Ed and Bernie Spradley family for raising the pumpkins.

"It's so kind of them to tend to the pumpkins and give them to us to sell -- that's a wonderful thing," he said.

The youth group harvested the pumpkins Oct. 6, on Spradley's farm 10 miles south of Dickinson.

Raising pumpkins for a second year, Bernie Spradley said they do it as a fundraiser for the kids. They raised about 60 pumpkins in a garden spot near their house.

They had a pretty good crop, except that rodents (voles and rabbits) came in to help themselves, she said.

"We didn't have to water except twice," she added. "We planted late so weeding wasn't a problem."

Spradley's daughter, Emily, is a member of the group and a junior at Trinity High School.

She described the youth group as a family -- one that she joined as an eighth-grader.

She said the group meets Sundays at 6 p.m. for a lesson and supper.

Final plans for the pumpkin patch are pretty much done.

"We were all assigned to one game, and during the day, we're running around helping," Emily Spradley said.