Rotary Pumpkins

Rotary Club of Estes Park Continues Tradition

By: Beth Weinberg

Hundreds of elementary and preschool students came home from school on October 15 with bright orange pumpkins, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Estes Park and the Safeway Foundation. The tradition, which began in 1936, is one of the many local service projects of the 95-year-old noon Rotary Club.

This year’s event organizer was Sue Fereday, Rotary Club’s Youth Director. Fereday applied for a grant from the Safeway Foundation, which generously donated more than 500 large pumpkins.

She picked up the crates of pumpkins at Safeway and delivered them to Estes Park Elementary School, where she and 10 other volunteers unloaded them, set them up in rows in front of the school like a pumpkin patch, and watched as excited students came out class by class and each student picked the perfect prize.

Rotary appreciates the support of the Estes Park Safeway manager and other store employees who helped make the event possible.

Rotary volunteers in addition to Fereday included Wayne Newsom, Jim Whiteneck and his wife Carol, Karen and Scott Thompson, Dave Evans, and Beth Weisberg. Russell Lenhart and Lillian Acedo from Fereday’s State Farm Insurance office staff also helped.

The 85th Annual Pumpkin Distribution Day had its start in 1936 with Ron Brodie, a former Estes Park mayor and Rotary Club of Estes Park president. According to 44-year club member Tom Maher, Brodie owned Brodie’s Supermarket and provided pumpkins for elementary students for many years.

Following Brodie’s death, Rotary Club took over the pumpkin project, with the support of Brodie’s family and friends. The tradition has continued so long that some of the parents of the children in this year’s event even received pumpkins from this club when they were in school.

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