It started three years ago, when the Schopf family was thinking of a way to support cancer research and people being treated for the disease that had taken their family members and friends. Dennis Schopf suggested combining pumpkins, a traditional part of autumn, with the color pink, the international symbol of the fight against breast cancer.
Research turned up someone else with a similar idea, who was developing seeds to produce pink pumpkins. And the Schopfs’ Pink Pumpkins for Cancer project was born.
In 2013, the first year of the event, they were required to donate half the profits to the American Cancer Society. The rest went to DOOR CANcer, Inc., a community-based voluntary organization dedicated to help serve Door County families with cancer in times of need. That agency received all proceeds last year and will be the recipient again this year.
“Our pumpkins the first year were just kind of pink,” Dennis’ wife, Roxanne, says. “Last year’s were pinker, and we’re expecting the pinkest yet for tomorrow. We’ve learned that the longer they’re left on the vine, the deeper the color becomes, so our family and employees will be out in force to pick them on Friday evening.”
The third annual Pink Pumpkins for Cancer day of fun activities will be from 10 am to 4 pm Oct. 3 at Dairy View Country Store, 5169 County Road I. A $10 donation to DOOR CANcer gets a Door County-grown pink pumpkin to take home, plus music, admission to the cow bouncy house and a ride on one of the dairy’s big tractors with jump seats for kids.
Or, a $10 donation gets a goody bag, music, admission to the cow bouncy house, jump-seat tractor rides and admission to the special, mile-long Stomp Out Cancer Walk through the Schopfs’ famous corn maze. “There are a lot of cancer walks,” says Roxanne, who manages Dairy View Country Store. “But we think this is the only cancer walk through a corn maze.”
A $1 raffle ticket allows the participant to guess the weight of the biggest pumpkin. The winner will take it home – come prepared to transport – plus half the money from the raffle, with the rest going to DOOR CANcer.
Lawn signs for someone special – Pink Pumpkins Survivor, In Memory of…, or In the Fight – can be purchased for $5, and t-shirts with this year’s theme, Stomp Out Cancer, will also be for sale.
Pumpkins carved by teenage employees will be displayed with donation cups, and a penny buys a vote for the best jack-o-lantern. The winner will receive a trophy, and proceeds will go to DOOR CANcer. A portion of the money from all sales in the country store that day will also go to DOOR CANcer.
Door County favorites the Modern Day Drifters will play from 11 am to 3 pm. The country store will sell no food that day, but local volunteer group, Pirates in the Harbour, Inc., will have burgers, hot dogs, booyah and chili available, with proceeds going to DOOR CANcer.
Businesses in Carlsville will also be involved this weekend with different specials and donations. “It was our hope to create an activity that involved the community,” Roxanne says, “and we are so pleased to see this happening. Our high school employees – ‘our kids’ – have always been enthused about the event. They came up with last year’s theme, Friends Don’t Let Friends Fight Cancer Alone. This year it’s even more meaningful, since one of these teenagers has been diagnosed with brain cancer. We love how they, our friends and neighbors are getting involved. We know that doing things together makes a bigger impact.”
So far, Pink Pumpkins for Cancer has raised more than $3,000. The community is invited to be part of tomorrow’s event and add to that figure. For more information, call 920.743.9779.