A Labor of Love: Simpson’s pumpkin patch brings joy to Farmville

Published 1:54 am Saturday, October 21, 2023

FARMVILLE – Most of the time when fall begins, people will go to a pumpkin patch to find one to buy, take home and decorate. For 98-year-old Janie Simpson, she has found the opposite to be true with hers.

For the past 30 years, residents of visitors to Farmville have been able to head down Peery Drive and see a large collection of decorative pumpkins in Simpson’s front yard. Starting around the middle of September to the end of October after Halloween, people can drive by and see pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors. 

“Mothers tell me that their children ask them to “slow down when you get to the field with the pumpkins so I can take a good look,” said Simpson. 

Help from “a good fairy”

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This year there are 151 pumpkins on display. The collection started with a few and each year a few more were added to the collection. Now, each year there are always a few donated to the collection. Regularly a “good fairy” will come and leave new pumpkins for the patch, most of the time they are brightly colored in greens, pinks, reds, blues and purples. This year some good fairies have already donated their pick for the newest addition for the patch. There were baby pumpkins with one signed saying “You’re awesome” and three more came with one mama pumpkin and two baby pumpkins with ribbons on their handles like baby girls.

“They come at night so I never know who did this,” said Simpson. “They add a lot of joy and happiness.”

The display is well loved as people love to donate pumpkins to the pile and over the years rarely any have been stolen. Most of the pumpkins on the lawn are the same ones that were there 30 years ago when the tradition started.  

A pumpkin patch for the community 

Even though she still gets out and in the yard, Simpson has help from her younger brother Nat Colman. This year she almost didn’t put the pumpkins out but Nat encouraged her to. She joked that she would because “one of us may not be here next year.” 

After Halloween, the pumpkins are cleaned off and stored on shelves in the basement until the next fall. It’s a labor of love that everyone loves to see each year.