OXFORD HILLS — The Oxford Hills will echo with spooks and goblins and pumpkins and treats on Friday, Oct. 28, as the annual Norway Halloween Festival and Moore Park Halloween Party attract young and old from near and far.
After a smashing success in 2015 (and not pumpkin smashing, mind you,) the More at Moore Park Halloween Party will return for the second year in a row.
The free event is scheduled from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, which starts a little later than Norway’s annual Halloween Festival. The hope is people will enjoy both events, organizer Rick Little said.
There are plenty of activities scheduled for More at Moore, including bobbing for apples, doughnuts on a string, face painting, pumpkin carving, fun times in a bouncy house and Hoopla Dance Group. The latter is new this year.
“They’re going to come, bring people and do stuff with the kids because it’s a three-hour event so it’s nice to have something else to do with the kids,” Little said.
And it takes a village to pull off a free event like this, he added.
“I can’t say enough good things about the Key Club,” Little said about the high school club, which sent 20 students to help with the Halloween party last year after their annual Halloween event was canceled. “They were very enthusiastic and amazing. … They were very helpful [and] they were great with the kids. … This year they came to us and said, ‘Hey, we want to do this.’”
Others have stepped up to help with the event. Cooper Farms in West Paris has donated the apples for the bobbing, Bill Haynes of Waterford has donated hay bales, Peter Bolduc of Poland has donated pumpkins and Jane Billings Insurance Agency will allow water access at the office. Swett Signs of Paris donated a sign last year and will update it for the 2016 event, and the Paris Fire Department will provide lights for after the sun goes down.
“We want it to be a community event. It is nice that people from outside of Paris want to help also,” Little said. “It is a little bit of everybody. It’s not just one person doing a lot. It’s little bits and pieces.”
Fliers will again go out to the elementary schools in Norway, Paris and Oxford to let students and their families know about the event.
The Paris Renewal Committee account is still active at Rainbow Federal Credit Union if people want to donate money to help pay for the event.
“There is a lot of community spirit and volunteers. People said they’d already help donate the money to help offset the costs. … Thank you very much. We will spend it correctly for the event ,” Little said, including B & C Oil of West Paris and Dr. Rob’s Garage in Oxford.. “[We’re] looking forward to a really good event.”
Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact Little through his own Facebook page, the More at Moore Park Halloween Party 2016 Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/1803166169924503/ or by calling him at 461-0379.
The Norway Downtown Promotions Committee will team up with several other groups to host the 12th annual Norway Halloween Festival from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, on Main Street.
Head coordinator Jen Corbett said this is her first year leading the preparations and she’s anticipating a turnout comparable to the previous year.
“Hopefully, the businesses and organizations that participated last year participate again,” Corbett said. “Each year, it seems, our audience grows. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.”
Corbett said that last year, 68 businesses and organizations on Main Street were involved and over 3,500 children and adults took the walk through downtown.
From 2 to 3 p.m., younger children come out in large groups to trick-or-treat on Main Street; from 3 to 5 p.m., the older children come out.
Children and adults can dress up for the festival, she said.
“For three hours, Main Street is jampacked, from the Guy E. Rowe Elementary School to the head of Main Street,” Corbett said. “The businesses hand out candy and trinkets. There’s different activities held throughout the afternoon, such as face painting, games, and dance and music performances.”
A map is given to families showing which businesses and organizations are participating. The map can be found on norwaydowntown.org a week before the festival.
The festival is sponsored by the Norway Downtown Promotions Committee, the Norway Parks and Recreation Department, the Norway Memorial Library, Healthy Oxford Hills and other Main Street businesses.
For more information, call Corbett at 743-7986, or email her at email@example.com.