Last updated: October 03. 2013 4:21PM - 1797 Views
By - cberendt@civitasmedia.com

Courtesy photoA few spooky creatures at a past 'Halloween in the Park' event. The revamped event is returning to the downtown square as 'Halloween in the Square' for the first time since 2009.
Courtesy photoA few spooky creatures at a past 'Halloween in the Park' event. The revamped event is returning to the downtown square as 'Halloween in the Square' for the first time since 2009.
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After a four-year hiatus, a haunted horde of little ghouls and goblins will once again overtake the City of Clinton’s downtown square at the end of this month, as the “Halloween on the Square” event is brought back from the dead.

Plans are currently under way for the 2013 Halloween on the Square event, being sponsored by the Clinton Main Street Program in partnership with the Sampson Arts Council, Sampson County 4-H and the Clinton Recreation Department.

“As if we don’t have enough going on with the street fair (next week) and our Christmas in the City coming up in December, the Recreation Department, Sampson County 4-H, the Sampson Arts Council and the Clinton Main Street Program are this year partnering up to bring ‘Halloween on the Square’ back to the square,” Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose said. “The Police Department did a great job some years ago with Halloween on the Square.”

The Halloween on the Square event began in 2004, serving as a safe alternative for families wishing to bypass trick-or-treating in dark neighborhoods throughout the county and have fun in a public setting, with many police officers — as well as firefighters and recreation officials — around. Held downtown through 2009, the event ventured to Royal Lane Park in 2010, becoming “Halloween in the Park” in recent years.

The heart of the downtown will play host this year and the event will take place on the haunted holiday itself, Thursday, Oct. 31.

“We have a great group of volunteers working on that,” Rose said. “There will be a pumpkin-carving contest that the Arts Council is working on and there will also be a costume contest the Recreation Department is hosting. Sampson 4-H is working with the Trunk or Treat and the Clinton Main Street Program is promoting the Ghost Hunt.”

She said the ghost hunt will provide a treat for children, young and old alike, in the weeks leading up to Halloween. More details will be forthcoming as the event draws nearer, organizers said.

“So I hope you will be looking for all your favorite ghosts on the square, and in the weeks before that event as well,” said Rose. “We’re hoping this will be a fun activity for our community.”

Street closings

In order to accommodate Halloween on the Square, Rose requested the City Council approve the closing of Main Street, from Wall Street to Lisbon Street, and the parking lot at the west end of the courthouse from 2 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31.

Council approved those closings, as well as others for the fast approaching street fair.

There will be numerous street closings in downtown Clinton for the 27th annual Court Square Street Fair and 20th annual Barbecue Cook-Off, officially signed off on earlier this week.

Vance Street will be closed, from Sampson Street to Wall Street, along with the parking lot at the west end of the Sampson County Courthouse from 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. The early closing — others will be closed the majority of the day Saturday only — is due to the Barbecue Cook-Off.

Rose said 21 pigs will be cooked as part of the cook-off, which kicks off the fair on the eve of the annual event.

“We are very excited about it,” she said.

Among other closures, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, will be: Vance Street, from Fisher Drive to Wall Street; Main Street, from Connesstee Street to Wall Street, College Street, from Devane Street to Sampson Street; Sampson Street, from College Street through the intersection of Vance Street; Lisbon Street, from John Street to Elizabeth Street; a short section of Lisbon Street that adjoins Main Street; and a short section of Graham Street, adjacent to the Lisbon Street parking lot.

Also closed during that 12-hour period will be the College Street, Lisbon Street and Vance Street parking lots in order to accommodate various events, vendors and activities held as part of the fair.

“It is just a very exciting event with a lot of partners, and a lot of hard work has gone into this event from a lot of different people,” Rose said.

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at cberendt@civitasmedia.com.

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