Crowds of costumed kids of all ages filled the streets on Friday, Oct. 26 as hundreds dressed up for BOOfest 2012, Chewelah’s first community Halloween festival.
The event, organized and sponsored by Chewelah Community Radio, was much bigger than expected, organizer Schelley Schlafman said. She said the Chewelah Civic Center, where the party concluded, was “standing room only.” The Kiwanis Club ran out of food they planned to give away to the first 300 people.
“It was unbelievable,” Schlafman said.
“I’m not sure how it can grow any bigger,” she added.
The evening started with hundreds of children trick or treating at more than 30 participating businesses and organizations. Those that visited every “passport stop” entered a drawing for a Halloween themed prize. Many businesses stayed open longer hours to accommodate the trick or treaters and it took over an hour to get to every stop.
Schlafman said there were so many trick or treaters that many businesses ran out of candy and had to get more during the evening. It brought exposure to the business and it was a good way to give the businesses a kickoff for the holiday season, she said.
Schlafman hopes people were able to look around in the stores and see what is available in the community to buy.
“A lot of people in the community think things are cheaper at Wal-Mart and discover that they aren’t considering the cost of time and gas,” Schlafman said.
The crowd all gathered at the fully decorated Chewelah Civic Center complete with a graveyard stage. Prizes were awarded for the best costume in six age divisions in addition to funniest, scariest, prettiest and best overall. Although the majority of entries were kids, they had a good amount enter in each age group as well.
Scott and Schelley Schlafman were broadcasting live on KCHW 102.7 from the BOOfest event that evening, as well getting live updates from the Chewelah Cougar football game happening at the same time.
“This is not a fundraiser, it is a community builder,” Schlafman said. Prizes were donated by local businesses and it brought a variety of businesses together on the same project.
The Chewelah Kiwanis Club provided a free hotdog, bag of chips, and juice to the first 300 participants. In addition, the Chewelah Youth and Community Foundation helped chaperone the event and clean up after.
BOOfest also included a window decorating contest for businesses, and the Chewelah Arts Guild assisted in painting windows for donations during the month of October leading up to Halloween.
The winners for the decorating contest are:
1st place – PTSA (decorated Northern Ballet and Performing Arts building).
2nd – The Deli
3rd – Lost But Found Thrift Store
Schlafman said the Chewelah Community Radio plans to host multiple community-building events a year as a way to unite the community.
Chewelah Community Radio plans to have a Chewelah’s Got Talent event the first week of March and a radio membership drive to mark KCHW’s one year anniversary. They also plan to set up a group rate for Silverwood in the summertime and have special programming during the holidays and Chataqua.
“Chewelah is an amazing town,” she said. “There’s a magic in Chewelah.” Schlafman moved to town from a big city in 1995.
By Kellie Trudeau, The Independent Staff
In This Photo: KCHW plans to make BOOfest an annual community event.