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Peach brings Halloween joy

Lead Summary

Let’s face it, 2020 hasn’t exactly brought a lot of joy to people for a variety of reasons. First it was a devastating fire followed by a deadly pandemic that has swept across America and wreaked havoc on Main Streets.
But you wouldn’t have guessed any of those problems on Halloween night along Blooming Prairie’s Main Street.
In a spot that used to bring smiles to folks of all ages as they enjoyed a donut or two (a maple frosted long John for me) and cup of coffee at the Bakery, which burned down in earlier this year, hundreds of children and their parents lined up at Pumpkins in the Prairie for some trunk or treating to grab some goodies as well as playful times in the pumpkin patch playing games.
Walking through the patch taking it all in with his bib overalls intact was Dan Peach, the mastermind behind Pumpkins in the Prairie. He came up with the idea after his family purchased the empty lot where the Bakery and Sportstitch once stood serving area families. His dad, Jeff Peach, owns B to Z Hardware located next to the empty lot.
“This brings families and kids together for a safe night,” Dan Peach remarked as he watched kids enjoy the free activities. “It’s also important to show off businesses and organizations in town and let everyone be a part of it,” he added.
Within 45 minutes, more than 300 bags of treats were handed out, sending Peach scrambling for extra candy.
Peach explained that the Pumpkins in the Prairie was kind of a last minute thing he came up with. “I just created it on the fly,” he said. “I thought it turned out pretty cool for last minute.”
The Halloween-themed park actually crossed Peach’s mind because he wanted something fun for families to do during COVID-19, which has basically shut down most everything this year.
He was lucky enough to secure some outdoor games from Tweite’s Family Farm in Byron that closed last year. There were also cut-outs where families could take photographs.
Asked what he enjoyed most about the first-time display, Peach said: “To see the joy in people. It’s fun to see the kids have fun.”
And fun they had. Every class from Blooming Prairie Elementary School came down to the pumpkin patch at different times over the past month for a field trip. He estimates thousands of people went through the patch over the past two months. “We had more out of town people than people from in town,” Peach said.
“This is going to be a new tradition every year,” Peach promises. “You have to have fun,” he stressed.
Don’t think for a minute Peach, who also serves the community as a police officer, is only focused on decorating only for Halloween. He promises to turn the empty lot into a Christmas Wonderland by Dec. 5. He hopes to organize a tree-lighting ceremony with various trees decorated on the corner lot.
“We can’t do Christmas at the police department (because of COVID-19) so we’re going to do it downtown this year,” Peach said. “We hope to keep the tradition for years to come.”
In less than a month, Peach will be going in hot pursuit of not only serving residents as a police officer, but also bringing them the joy that has been robbed by a wicked virus.

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