By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury merchants on Saturday, Oct. 25, will give area adults and children a sweet preview of Halloween — and all that the downtown has to offer — in the first annual “Middlebury Spooktacular.”
The event, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m., is the brainchild of the Better Middlebury Partnership (formerly known as the Middlebury Business Association). The Spooktacular is somewhat of a throwback to Halloweens gone by, when a children’s parade used to meander its way around the downtown and Court Square and when the Middlebury Inn used to host a haunted house.
“It’s been several years since there’s been a Halloween celebration of any kind in Middlebury, and we felt it was something we should have again,” said BMP Coordinator Gail Freidin.
With that in mind, members of the BMP’s promotions committee set to work on a new event that could involve adults and kids alike. They came up with the Spooktacular, which will feature, among other things:
• Hay bales, luminaries and lit pumpkins and other Halloween décor adorning the town green on Oct 25. A rain date of Oct 26 has been set.
• Carved pumpkin and costume contests, family fun games, a “monster-mash” dance party and prizes.
• A children’s trick-or-treat sidewalk parade along Main Street that will leave the green at 4:15 p.m. Accompanied by parents and the Middlebury Police Explorers, the procession will cross to the post office, continue along Main Street to Cannon Park, cross to the Ilsley Memorial Library, and return to the green, stopping at each shop along the route.
Main Street merchants will have plenty of treats on hand and may even greet the parade participants at their doors in costume. Businesses not located on the parade route will be handing out goodies in Cannon Park.
Freidin noted that area dentists have been very generous in helping to underwrite costs of the large amount of candy that will undoubtedly be passed out during the Spooktacular.
Halloween “elves” sporting candy-filled backpacks will replenish storeowners who run out of sweet stuff to pass out.
“It’s really nice to see a group that might benefit from a lot of candy eating sponsor some of the candy, and we are very grateful,” Freidin said. “They have stepped forward to help pay for and promote this event.”
Participants are encouraged to show up at the event in costume. There will be a costume contest and prizes will be awarded in five different age categories, including adults.
People participating in the parade will return to find the many carved pumpkins that will be submitted for the contest. People can enter as many pumpkins as they want. Those interested should bring their entries to the green at 3:30 p.m. The BMP will provide candles and light the entries. Again, prizes will be awarded in five different age categories.
While all this is going on, the town green will be alive with music, dancing and games for all ages, including an apple toss and other fun challenges. Prizes will be awarded to all who take part.
Happy Valley Orchard will be on hand to sell its cider and doughnuts.
Freidin acknowledged that business owners will have an opportunity to showcase their wares during the Spooktacular. But commerce is not the main motivation behind the event.
“It’s really about having a community event oriented to families,” Freidin said.
For more information on the event, contact Kim Cook at 388-8666, ext. 223 or KCook@danforthpewter.com.