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Hallmark At Home Moment: Pumpkin Roll A Throwback
Reporter’s Notebook 11-10-21
Five-year-old Trey Pratt of Oakdale gave it his all on Sunday, Nov. 7 as he took to the course, participating in Knights Ferry’s annual Pumpkin Roll. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

I love this community.

Forgive me for a moment as I revisit a topic which caught me once again this past Sunday, while my kids and I attended the annual Knights Ferry Pumpkin Roll.

Hence the lead sentence of loving the “community” versus the more likely “I love this town.” While I do love this town and all that it offers, it’s truly the community which makes it like no other. With neighboring communities of Valley Home and Knights Ferry just a few miles away, there’s truly something unique about this place we call “home.”

So Sunday as we parked our car on the outskirts of Main Street, nostalgia immediately began to kick in.

It’s important for me to once again acknowledge I’m not a native “Oakdalean” as so many tout with pride. I don’t have generations of memories which I can share with others when we cross paths or visitors of our unique little zip code. Yet 20 years in, we definitely have a memory arsenal I am truly grateful for, not to mention proud.

This became apparent to me on Sunday as we walked toward the tennis court for the start of the pumpkin roll. My son had invited a friend along and as we began walking I started to share the history of the pumpkin roll as well as our own family memories and fun times shared.

And as with anything, as we walked we were interrupted on occasion by community members or friends also in attendance making memories.

My daughter and son quickly chiming in to the friend, “guess we know a lot of people.”

Only to be met by mom’s standard, “Oh that’s just the beauty of living in Oakdale.”

As we watched the littles “roll” their pumpkins, my youngest, now 14, making comment on the cute babies and matching dressed siblings, I couldn’t help share memories of she and her brother from their pumpkin roll days.

Wandering through the vendor space, stopping to talk with some Orange Blossom 4-H moms again I found myself reflecting on how beautiful the simplicity of it all was. Honestly as I pen this … reflecting … I can’t help but chuckle at the similarity it had to the setting of one of those Holiday Hallmark movies my childhood bestie loves so much.

The brisk fall weather had most properly dressed: jeans, flannels, sweaters, booties and beanies, all fitting for a pumpkin roll.

By early afternoon all had made it on to Main Street for the older class of Pumpkin rollers. The sidelines of the street began filling in, as countless announcements were made warning those who may parked between the roped in area that they’d be here for a while if cars were not relocated promptly.

Watching the “senior” class line up to give their try at a coveted trophy, my daughter began strategizing how she would “roll” her chosen pumpkin in hopes of winning the coveted age group trophy.

In so doing, we were approached by a lovely couple with their baby and a friend who had joined them for the day’s festivities. Our new friends were both fascinated, as well as entertained by the events and the competitive nature which was so apparent. True to my nature and pride, I shared the Pumpkin Roll history with them.

The husband shared he had stumbled upon the event a few years back following brunch at the River’s Edge. The others were first time visitors, but it was clear they were hooked.

Traveling home Sunday afternoon, my daughter and I reflected on some fun shared (new) memories. Reflecting on how something so simple, that we perhaps take for granted was so admired by our new friends.

And this is where I “land the plane,” as they say. That’s what makes this place so very special. Be it the annual Kiwanis Halloween Parade or the Pumpkin Roll these are the events that get us excited for the weeks to come. Our communities truly come alive at this time of year. It’s truly magical.

Perhaps I’m simply giddy to be out and about seeing people coming out of a much too long shut-in. Fair enough.

What I know for sure is this community is one which can keep even the busiest of planners filled with something to do. So as the weeks now pass and the events stack up I hope you each are able take in an event or two. We are indeed fortunate to live in a place full of those who “do” versus those who “talk” and I for one am grateful. Here’s to the Holidays and events ahead.

Knights Ferry’s own Kinsley Simons, 4, was all smiles on Sunday as the winner of her age group in the annual Pumpkin Roll. Teresa Hammond/The Leader
Line judges had their hands full Sunday as participants from tiny toddlers to senior citizens showed up for a chance at a trophy in the annual Knights Ferry Pumpkin Roll. Teresa Hammond/The Leader