BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Blue pumpkins are being sold again, for the 7th year, after the tragic death of Lt. Craig Lehner.
This weekend, there will be 1,000 pumpkins for sale at a home in South Buffalo: 118 W. Woodside Ave. You can stop by for pumpkins and fun Friday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., or 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Allison Milligan and her family put the event together every year. Milligan’s husband served in the military with Lt. Lehner, who died after disappearing in the Niagara River during a police training exercise in 2017.
And all proceeds from the weekend sale go to something close to Lehner’s heart: The Buffalo PD K9 Unit.
“The unit takes the money and buys supplies that they need for the dog, like bulletproof vests,” Milligan said. “One year, we helped raise the money to purchase another dog. So the money is put to a great cause, great use. And Craig was apart of the K9 unit, so we feel to donate the money to them in his memory.”
Milligan and her family paint all the pumpkins by hand. There are many blue ones, to show support for police. But there are many others of all shapes, sizes and designs.
“We have blue pumpkins, pink pumpkins, Halloween pumpkins, Buffalo Bills … Sabres, and then we have some regular orange pumpkins for people who want to pick up some pumpkins to carve at home,” Milligan said.
Pumpkins don’t have a price. People are just asked to make a donation to the K9 unit when they pick one up.
Along with the pumpkins, there are big-ticket basket raffle items you can win, like Sabres tickets, a Bills bar and more. You can also meet Buffalo Police K9s Friday and Saturday.
Over the years, Milligan has helped raised about $40,000 for Lehner’s family and the K9 unit. She told News 4, this is the last year she’ll be holding the event, but she is considering bringing it back for the 10-year mark after Lt. Lehner’s death.
All the pumpkins come from Harris Farm in Gasport. The farm donates some gourds, and Milligan gets monetary donations to buy the rest. The South Buffalo Moose Club, Buffalo Common Councilmember Chris Scanlon and local hardware stores donate to the cause.