While it likely won’t generate quite the level of fanfare as Halloween Howl, Main Street Zephyrhills Inc., is working to salvage some type of celebration for the holiday.
The full-on Halloween Howl has fallen victim to a concern for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Typically, Halloween Howl features about 100 vendors, trick-or-treating along all the downtown shops, haunted house, hay ride, costume parade, carnival and more.
The event generally attracts more than 6,000 people, including 3,000 kids who went through the haunted house last year.
“It’s a busy day,” said Gail Hamilton, director of the Zephyrhills Community Redevelopment Agency.
When people found out that Halloween Howl had been canceled, they expressed their displeasure, Hamilton said during a recent meeting of the Zephyrhills CRA Board, which is made up of members of the Zephyrhills City Council.
“When we said we weren’t doing anything at all, the community was not happy, so we’re trying to come up with something that is safe for the kiddos and the parents — something to be happy that you live in a small town,” Hamilton said.
So, the organization has proposed an alternative.
It includes decorating the front of the Historic Jeffries House with a “tasteful” Halloween theme to allow families to use it as a backdrop for photos, either standing in front of the house or sitting on the front porch. Additionally, on Halloween night, Main Street volunteers will hand out bags of candy to families that drive along Fifth Avenue; a pull-in parking space for candy bag distribution also will be made available.
Hamilton labeled it a “smaller version of Halloween, just something for the kids.”
The CRA Board offered support for the proposal. “I think it’s a great idea. I’m all for it,” said CRA board member Charles Proctor, also president of the Zephyrhills City Council.
Also, on the topic of festivals, Main Street Zephyrhills’ next major event is its annual Christmas Parade, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 5.
The event remains a go for now, although celebrations in other municipalities have been canceled.
Of note, last year’s Christmas parade drew about 15,000 people to downtown Zephyrhills, Hamilton said.
Main Street Zephyrhills is a 501c3 nonprofit that generally facilitates new business and organizes large events within the historic downtown district. The organization works in coordination with the Zephyrhills CRA.
For more information, visit MainStreetZephyrhills.org, or call (813) 782-1913.
Published October 14, 2020