The Candy Man

2019 Spook City ded­i­cated to Posey

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - el­[email protected]­ton­courier.com By Elisha Mor­ri­son

This year’s Spook City, put on by the Down­town Ben­ton Busi­ness Owner’s As­so­ci­a­tion, will be ded­i­cated in honor of the late James Posey, af­fec­tion­ately known as the Candy Man.

This year’s Spook City will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Satur­day. If it gets rained out, it will take place Mon­day.

Posey was a long-time sup­porter of Spook City. Or­ga­nizer Joyce Robin­son said ev­ery year he made it his mis­sion to be sure ev­ery child got lots of candy. When Dol­lar Gen­eral was still lo­cated on Mar­ket Street he would go and fill up carts with candy and hand it out to all the booths to make sure there was more than enough to go around, she said.

“It was im­por­tant to him,” Robin­son said. “He loved Hal­loween. He loved to see kids happy and get candy.”

His wife, Wanda, has long served as the event’s co-chair, though she has taken a step back this year. Robin­son said it made her happy when she sur­prised Wanda with the news about honor­ing Posey.

One way they play to honor him is by mak­ing sure all 90 trick-or­treat booths get at least one ex­tra bag of candy to give out.

This will be the 14th year for Spook City, which Robin­son said be­gan as a way for the As­so­ci­a­tion to show the city its ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

Robin­son said the As­so­ci­a­tion is ready to go for the event.

Ad­mis­sion to Spook City and all the trick-or-treat­ing is free. There will be two dif­fer­ent trains,

a pi­rate ship, a mini fer­ris wheel, tubs-of-fun, Joey the Friendly Fire Truck and in­flat­a­bles. Fam­i­lies can choose to pur­chase a wrist­band to ride all the rides for $5 or pur­chase ride tick­ets at five for $1. The rides are geared to chil­dren ages 3 to 12.

Ro­bi­son said if a child wants to do all the rides, the wrist­band is the bet­ter deal. If they only want to do a few things, she sug­gested get­ting tick­ets. Those older than 12 should get tick­ets if they wish to ride with a child. Not all rides will ac­com­mo­date older chil­dren or adults.

Wrist­bands can be pur­chased in ad­vance at the

Oil Shop, Par­adise Pets and the Down­town branch of Re­gions bank.

There will be two ad­di­tional at­trac­tions that won’t be cov­ered un­der ei­ther the wrist band or tick­ets. For $5 each, cash only, chil­dren can do the pony ride or the climb­ing wall. Robin­son said those two at­trac­tions can’t be pur­chased at any of the ticket booths.

Along with candy and other give­aways at booths, there will be food trucks set up sell­ing food and Down­town restau­rants plan to be open. The Royal plans to sell pop­corn.

Var­i­ous cos­tumed char­ac­ters in­clud­ing the Arkansas Trav­el­ers mas­cot and the Chick-fil-a cow will be at the event.

To en­sure a safe event, the Ben­ton

Po­lice De­part­ment and Sa­line County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment will have of­fi­cers, both uni­formed and in plain clothes, in the crowd. BPD also plans to give out candy and have its su­per­heroes stop by.

The four ma­jor cor­ners, where the tick­ets and wrist­bands will be sold, will be safe zones where chil­dren and fam­i­lies can go if they are sep­a­rated. The of­fi­cers will help lo­cate any miss­ing chil­dren and DJ Hol­ly­wood will an­nounce miss­ing chil­dren from the stage. That area will also serve as the lost and found. Each safe zone will have maps avail­able.

While any of the trick-or­treat booths can pass out candy as long as they like, Robin­son said they have asked them to stay open un­til at least 7 p.m.

At the end of Mar­ket Street, First Bap­tist Church will also have games and ac­tiv­i­ties.

“If your child likes a lit­tle qui­eter at­mos­phere, that is the place to go,” Robin­son said.

Ben­ton Parks and Recre­ation will hold a cos­tume con­test in the City of Ben­ton Farm­ers Mar­ket. Con­tes­tants will get pic­tures taken of their cos­tumes. Parks and Re­cre­ations will also have pump­kin paint­ing. Robin­son said painters can leave their pump­kins and pick them up at the end of the night.

While adults are wel­come to dress up, Robin­son re­minds them this is a child-friendly event so cos­tumes should be ap­pro­pri­ate.

Smok­ing and va­p­ing will not be per­mit­ted in­side the bar­ri­cades. Any­one do­ing ei­ther will need to step out. Robin­son said there are many chil­dren with asthma and other con­di­tions that can be trig­gered by smoke. She does not want a fam­ily to have to leave be­cause some­one is smok­ing in a line.

The As­so­ci­a­tion asks that no one park in­side the bar­ri­cade for both safety rea­sons and be­cause they won’t be able to leave again un­til the end of the night.

Spe­cial to The Sa­line Courier

This year’s Spook City is ded­i­cated in re­mem­brance of James Posey, the Candy Man, who al­ways loved to make sure ev­ery child went home with a bag full of candy.

ELISHA MOR­RI­SON/THE Sa­line Courier

Chil­dren ride the pi­rate ship on Main Street in Ben­ton dur­ing Spook City, which will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Satur­day. In the event of rain, makeup day is planned for Mon­day.

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