Downtown Florence event offers Halloween fun for all ages

By Staff Writer Monday Sanderson

Colder weather has arrived in the Shoals, and with it comes the Fall Fun Fest in downtown Florence.

The Event will be Oct. 24 from 4 until 8 p.m. and includes costume contests for all ages, trick-or-treating with participating downtown businesses and local charities providing children’s activities to the general public, said Christina Hernandez, event coordinator for Florence Main Street.

“It’s a Halloween-inspired event,” said,” she said. “It’s meant to bring people to downtown Florence and to spotlight our community businesses and local charities.”

Last year was the event’s first year and approximately 1,200 people attended, she said.

This year there will be 33 participating charities and 36 businesses, she said.

Local charities will provide children’s activities including games like a witch hat ring toss, pumpkin bowling and face painting, Hernandez said.

Sophomore Jennifer Van Tassel said the event sounds interesting and could be a good way to support the community.

“It’s great how they have all of these activities for the children,” she said.

Junior Hillary Taylor said the event seems similar to Lion Night.

“It’s good advertisement for these businesses,” she said. “It also gives people the chance to actually enter the store and see what this business is selling.”

Director of the Sidney’s Safe Foundation Sarah Thompson said the event is important to the community, and this will be the foundation’s second time participating.

“We have a program where we give food away every Friday to children,” she said. “A lot of those kids will be there.”

The foundation’s booth this year will be a beauty booth called BOOty School Dropout BOOtique, she said.

“We’re going to go over the top with the hair and makeup for both us and the kids,” she said.

Ashley Lyle, UNA alumna and office manager at Creative Jewelers, said the costume contests are open to all ages, and businesses are giving out prizes for the best costumes.

“We’re giving gift cards to first, second and third places in the Group category,” she said.

The Geek Gathering will judge the different categories in the costume contest, Hernandez said.

“We will be sponsoring one of the costume categories,” said Adam St. John, manager of Frios

Gourmet Pops. “It will be the cosplay category. The winners of that will receive prizes donated by Frios.”

Taylor said she is excited about the costume contest.

“I’ve always enjoyed dressing up in costumes,” she said. “This gives me another opportunity to dress up without people thinking I’m a weirdo.”

Hernandez said she would love for students to get involved with the event.

“We have so many downtown businesses that support the university,” she said. “This event is for awareness because we’re trying to get students into these stores. We want to create a relationship between the students and the community.”

Taylor said she thinks it is a fun event for the entire family.

“It’s family-oriented, so people will feel comfortable bringing their kids or younger siblings,” she said. “Also, if you like Halloween, then this will be something fun for you to do.”