Oct. 24, 2020 — The 32nd annual Coast Radio Great Pumpkin Giveaway took place on Thursday at the same location as previous years, the Old School Furniture store, but with new COVID inspired restrictions. The event is sponsored by KCST/KCFM Coast Radio and True Value Hardware.
“The kids were so excited about getting pumpkins and candy,” said Radio Host Wayne Sharpe the next morning. “They were all smiling and waving. It was like, ‘Hey, there’s something normal going on!”
The pumpkins were distributed by members of the Florence Police Department, Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue and Western Lane Ambulance District, all wearing masks and minimizing contact with drivers and children. Florence Mayor Joe Henry also helped hand pumpkins to the families.
More than 200 cars came through the event.
This year, all families receiving pumpkins stayed in their cars and were assisted with minimal contact. There was also bags of candy and gift certificates for all youngsters, although the usual games, hot dogs and other treats were not available due to COVID.
Sharpe said people were asking him and News Director George Henry how Coast Radio could do the giveaway this year.
George said, “We socially distanced, we dropped them (the pumpkins and candy) in the backs of the cars—”
“And people handing out stuff had masks on, and everybody was being cautious,” Sharpe added. “And it worked, and worked really well.”
The Florence Kiwanis Club, Grocery Outlet and local churches provided candy for the event. Sharpe called these candy sponsors this year’s “pumpkin partners.”
As has been the case since the 2008 “Great Pumpkin Giveaway”, the Lemhouse family, owners of Old School Furniture and True Value, provided the location for the distribution.
According to the radio hosts, the event went well, even while families lined up in their cars.
“I missed the hot dogs, the A&W root beer and the games, but in the end, what everyone was there for was pumpkins and candy,” George said. “And they got that, and I think they were all happy.”