With any transition comes change, and the Harvest Halloween Festival is no exception.
But even with the departure of Cathy Clatworthy as the event’s main organizer, the festival’s new drivers are still looking to make its sixth running a day of fun for everyone.
This year’s Harvest Halloween festivities are set for Saturday, Oct. 26, in the Meridian District.
Among those organizing this year’s event is Mandi Gause, who told the Press & Dakotan that the festival is now in the hands of a board of volunteers from the Meridian District.
“Cathy Clatworthy approached us last year about taking it on,” Gause said. “As Meridian District has kind of changed what projects they’ll be working on, they started to move away from events a little bit, so that’s why a couple of us from the Meridian District board decided to put together a separate committee to run this Harvest Halloween event, just because we think it’s really important for the community and kids’ activities for this event to continue on.”
She added that the transition inevitably meant some changes to the festival.
“We did eliminate the band and dance this year, and the waffle feed and the chili feed,” she said. “We wanted to cut some events out that maybe didn’t make sense attendance-wise and kind of clean things up a little bit because we’re starting with a new board. We’re excited to see where we can build off of it from this year.”
Among the new items this year are larger inflatables for the kids and a pub crawl for the adults including many of the bars along Third Street. Also, the festival will be only one day, down from two days in the past.
Another addition this year will be a number of food trucks as well as cookie decorating for kids.
“We’re focused on keeping it family friendly and we added some adult activities in at night,” Gause said.
While new activities abound, Gause said some old favorites will be returning to Harvest Halloween.
“The pig races are always a really big hit,” she said. “That’s a really big activity and that will stay. The corn pit, we have Brandt Construction bringing in a pirate ship again and then Yaggies helps us out with the corn, so that’s always a big hit and the hay bale maze. Those are just staples that Cathy’s had for a lot of years and we’ll continue to have.”
There will also be downtown trick-or-treating once again.
Gause said that hopes are high in this year of transition.
“We’re hoping for a good turnout and we’re really excited to continue with the activities that have been a big hit, like the pig races, the hay bale maze and the corn pit,” she said. “We’re excited to add in some big inflatables … we have a food truck area this year with several food trucks so you’ll be able to eat on site.”
She said the festival’s future and what direction it takes will depend on the desires of the community.
“We’re looking for community feedback,” she said. “Our adult activities at night have changed so we now have a pub crawl and a downtown ghost walk. We’re excited to see where those will go and what feedback we’ll get from the bars and the adults who participate.”
For a full schedule of events, visit https://www.harvesthalloween.com/
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